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1800 1900 



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By D. C. Lathbury. 


By R. G. Wilberforce. 


By G. W. . Russell. 


By Joseph Clayton. 


By G. W. E. Russell. 









LONDON : 34 Great Castle Street, Oxford Circus, W. 

OXFORD : 106 S. Aldate s Street 



NOV 3 1982 






TT seems expedient that the origin and scope 
of this new Series of Biographies should 
be briefly explained. 

Messrs. A. R. Mowbray and Co. had formed 
the opinion that Ecclesiastical Biography is apt 
to lose in attractiveness and interest, by reason 
of the technical and professional spirit in which 
it is generally handled. Acting on this opinion, 
they resolved to publish some short Lives of 
" Leaders of the Modern Church," written 
exclusively by laymen. They conceived that 
a certain freshness might thus be imparted 
to subjects already more or less familiar, and 
that a class of readers, who are repelled by 
the details of ecclesiasticism, might be attracted 
by a more human, and in some sense a more 
secular, treatment of religious lives. 

This conception of Ecclesiastical Biography 
agreed entirely with my own prepossessions ; 
and I gladly acceded to the publishers request 
that I would undertake the general superin 
tendence of the series. I am not without 
the hope that these handy and readable books 
may be of some service to the English-clergy. 
They set forth the impressions produced on 



the minds of devout and interested lay-people 
by the characters and careers of some great 
ecclesiastics. It seems possible that a know 
ledge of those impressions may stimulate 
and encourage that " interest in public affairs, 
in the politics and welfare of the country," 
and in "the civil life of the people," which 
Cardinal Manning noted as the peculiar virtue 
of the English Priesthood ; and the lack of 
which he deplored as one of the chief defects 
of the Priesthood over which he himself 
presided. 1 


S. Mary Magdalenis Day, 

1 See " Hindrances to the Spread of the Catholic 
Church in England," at the end of Purcell s Life of 
Cardinal {Manning. 


HPHIS little Life of a great thinker and 
teacher has been written under circum 
stances of difficulty. I have been persuaded to 
continue it mainly by the knowledge that there 
is no other little Life of Maurice in existence, 
and that the large volumes of the biography 
published by his son are not at the present 
time being widely read. If this book will 
excite any interest for the further study of 
the man and his work, and especially for those 
treasures of wisdom and inspiration in the 
collected correspondence of a lifetime, I shall 
be more than satisfied with the result of its 

My obligations are, in the main, due to The 
Life and Letters of Frederic ^ T)enison Maurice, by 
Colonel Maurice (Macmillan and Co., 1882), 
and to the various works of Maurice issued 
by the same publishers. To these I gladly 
acknowledge my indebtedness. In personal 
assistance, I have to thank most cordially 
Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Maurice for placing many 
books and documents at my disposal, and for 
most kind help in answering questions and pro 
viding material for a biography. Dr. Llewelyn 

ix b 

Davies has also been generous of his time 
and sympathy, and in telling his own remem 
brances of a friend and colleague in the cause 
of reform. Mr. Ludlow has encouraged me 
to proceed. Mr. George Russell, the General 
Editor of the series, has been most helpful 
in advice and criticism. From all I have 
met who knew the man and something of his 
great qualities, I have been renewed in desire 
to contribute what little was possible towards 
making those qualities better known ; among 
a generation less concerned with the things 
of the spirit than the age in which Maurice 
lived, and perplexed with the same spiritual 
and social embarrassments, for which Maurice 
sought and found a remedy. 


Easter Day, 1907. 










IX. THE MAN} - 199 

X. THE WORK - - 216 


Leaders of the Church 




" T HE greatest mind since Plato," was 
Archdeacon Hare s deliberate verdict 
upon his brother-in-law. " The greatest mind 
of them all," Tennyson called Maurice in 
that Metaphysical Society which gathered in 
union all the most distinguished thinkers of 
the nineteenth century. " No greater honour 
could be paid to any living man," wrote 
the author of John Inglesant, "than to ask 
him to write upon Mr. Maurice." Mill, in 
a doubtful compliment, asserted that " more 
intellectual power was wasted in Maurice than 
in any one else of my generation." " A man 
I always liked for his delicacy, his ingenuity 
and earnestness," said Carlyle in softer mood ; 
but in scornfuller " One of the most entirely 


2 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

uninteresting men of genius that I can meet," 
he flared out, " is poor Maurice to me ; all 
twisted, crude, wire-drawn, with such restless 
sensitiveness and the utmost inability to let 
Nature have fair play with him." Ruskin 
found him "by nature puzzle-headed and, 
indeed, wrong-headed " ; and Froude, going 
one better, as always, than the master, wrote 
to Clough, "As thinkers, Maurice, and still 
more the Mauricians, appear to me the most 
hideously imbecile that any section of the world 
have been driven to believe in." 

The contradictions of these contemporary 
impressions are characteristic of a life made 
up of contradictory elements. Maurice was 
a man of peace. He hated controversy, with 
its appeals to passion and prejudice. But 
his life was passed in almost continuous 
intellectual and theological combat ; and in 
reading its record we emerge with scarcely 
a breathing-space from one campaign to plunge 
immediately into another. He was a man of 
humility, with a profound sense of his own 
unworthiness, and of the superior intelligence 
and devotion of his antagonists. Yet his 
polemic advances upon an astonishing stream 
of violence and seemingly personal bitterness ; 
with such sweeping attacks upon the good 
faith and intelligence of his opponents, as give 
him often an appearance of prejudice and 
arrogance. No controversialist so invariably 
excited exasperation ; so that in one dispute 

Frederic^ Denison Maurice 3 

Mansel was provoked into openly calling him 
a liar, and in another Pusey coldly closed a 
correspondence with the verdict that the two 
were worshippers of different gods. 

He was a man of large charity, which burned 
with a constant clear flame and extended its 
warmth and radiance to all living things. But 
the invective and savage irony of his onslaught 
upon the religious newspapers of his day, 
the dominant Church parties, or the popular 
agnosticism which passed for enlightenment, 
are staggering to the readers of a less vigorous 
age. He would confess in private, and even 
in public letters, that the attacks were directed, 
not so much against these external opponents, 
as against the internal elements of his own 
personality which responded to their appeal, 
and urged him to actions and opinions similar 
to those he was repudiating. It is, perhaps, 
not unnatural that the subjects of his violence 
found little to console them in such an explana 
tion. He was branded as a " Broad Churchman" 
by the crowd, which defines its boundaries in 
the clumsiest fashion, and demands a label for 
every thinker. Even the leaders themselves 
Stanley, Jowett, Colenso and the rest were 
often perplexed at his revolt against their 
critical conclusions, and could never understand 
why he did not more completely identify 
himself with their plea for liberty. But he 
differed so fundamentally from their first 
principles that the popular identification of 

*" J **!" 

4 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

his theology with their lack of it is still hard 
to understand. 

Perhaps the subject of Maurice s most notori 
ous controversy is chiefly responsible for this 
misunderstanding. To the Man in the Street, 
in the long theological warfare of the nine 
teenth century, the question of the future 
life and the everlasting punishment of the 
wicked formed a convenient test and dis 
tinction. In none was he more interested ; 
in none were the lines seemingly so sharply 
drawn. He could understand the meaning 
of endless torment. He could understand 
the meaning of a torment which comes to 
an end. He placed with the utmost certitude 
all the thinkers of the time into one or other 
of these two pigeon-holes. Maurice was thus 
docketed with the Liberals. In his refusal 
to interpret "eternal* as an interminable 
prolongation of the temporal, he was supposed 
to be pleading for a less harsh and rigorous 
creed than that of the accepted Protestant 
theology. His protest, which cost him his 
chair at King s College and made him for the 
first time generally famous, was, as a matter 
of fact, entirely unconnected with the protest 
of the Broad Churchmen of the day. While 
the one was in the main ethical and emotional, 
the other was intellectual and theological. In 
the larger discussions of a more general 
liberty he was against most of the " Liberal " 
theory. But he spoke for its advocates as he 

Fredericf^ Denison Maurice 5 

spoke for any other parties when he thought 
he saw them being crushed by the force of 
large battalions, authority, and the ignorance 
and prejudice of a crowd. 

His theological position led him into quite 
other ways. His first appearance in con 
troversy was to justify the enforcement of 
subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles upon 
the Undergraduates of the older Univer 
sities. He repudiated any elementary educa 
tion save that given by the Churches, demon 
strating that the State could not even teach in 
satisfactory fashion scientific or secular subjects, 
and warning it off from a ground too sacred 
for its feet. He defended the Athanasian 
Creed in its entirety, and thought that the 
damnatory clauses were the profoundest ex 
pression of an absolute truth. He disliked 
and distrusted the new movement of Biblical 
Criticism ; and his exegesis remains to-day in 
part as a monument of the failure of a man, 
supreme in one field of knowledge, to enter 
into the inheritance of another. 

His influence has been almost entirely in 
the strengthening of a movement in the 
Church whose leaders he fought unwearyingly 
for nearly half a century ; and, as Marie 
Pattison said of T. H. Green at Oxford, the 
bulk of his " honey " passed into the " Ritual 
istic hive." 

His work remains ; passionate, disinterested, 
enormous in volume ; a tribute to the inde- 

6 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

fatigable efforts of the nineteenth century 
in its thirst after knowledge of ultimate 
things. It is often obscure, not carefully 
studied, with no particular charm of style. 
It is filled with the elements of passing con 
troversy as called out by the exigencies of an 
almost casual warfare. It is charged also with 
a lofty purpose and enduring insight which 
will give it a permanent position in the history 
of the thought of an age. 

Maurice stands to-day as the greatest thinker 
of the English Church in the nineteenth 
century. Almost alone among its members, 
he possessed the wide metaphysical knowledge 
and training which enabled him to carry 
up the argument from the region of dog 
matic theology into the philosophical debate. 
He challenges the position of Butler as the 
greatest convert that Church has received from 
outside its borders. No man gave himself 
more unreservedly to the service of its wel 
fare. No man loved it with a more unfeigned 
affection. " He could still, after Hume and 
Voltaire had done their best and worst with 
him," wrote Carlyle of Coleridge, "profess 
himself an orthodox Christian, and say and 
point to the Church of England, with its 
singular old rubrics and surplices at All- 
hallowtide, Esto perpetua" And Maurice, 
amid the strong tides of the nineteenth century 
which were submerging all the trodden ways 
of the past, could still look out fearless over 

Frederic^ Denison Maurice 7 

the waste of waters with the cry of Esto 
perpetua y to a Church secure from the 
fretting of time and all the seasons change. 

John Frederick Denison Maurice was born 
at Normanstone, near Lowestoft, on August 
29, 1805. Eight weeks later the cannons of 
Trafalgar decided that the Revolution should 
never come to England ; that the change 
towards better things in the political and 
social order should be effected in a more 
prolonged and less drastic method of reform. 
He was the fifth child and only surviving son 
of Michael and Priscilla Maurice. His father 
was of Welsh descent from a long line of 
orthodox Nonconformists ; a pupil of Hoxton 
Academy, and subsequently a Unitarian minister. 
He was an ardent Liberal, a friend of Priestley, 
rejoicing in the fall of the Bastille, respected 
by his friends and neighbours, a man of wide 
charity. The family, first established at Nor 
manstone, subsequently removed to Frenchay, 
a little village near Bristol, where Michael 
Maurice received pupils and preached at a tiny 
Unitarian chapel. The boy grew up here in 
an atmosphere of keen thought accompanied 
by much disputation. He lamented in later 
life a dullness to country scenes and beauties. 
" I never knew the note of a single bird," he 
confessed, " nor watched the habits of any 



Interest from the commencement was trans- 

8 Leaden of the Church 1800-1900 

ferred away from the sensible universe. " Any 
thing social or political took a hold of me 
such as no objects in nature, beautiful or 
useful, had." He was carefully guarded as 
a child from fiction of all kinds, modern and 
romantic. It was a bracing atmosphere of 
austere thought, with an air cold and thin, 
and its influence enduring to the end of his 
days. The concerns of the household were 
in religion and the development of the soul. 
On such a plane the growing child was witness 
of a tragedy none the less poignant because 
remote from the normal ways of mankind. 
The family unity was breaking up in theo 
logical strife, and the children drifting away 
from the father s faith. "Those years," Maurice 
asserted in after life, "were to me years of 
moral confusion and contradiction." His two 
elder sisters first repudiated the creed of 
the family, and wrote to their father, then 
in the same house, " We do not think it 
consistent with the duty we owe to GOD to 
attend a Unitarian place of worship." The 
father s written answer was one of agony and 
distress. Ten months later, the wife broke 
the news to her husband, also in an elaborate 
epistle, that she is passing to the side of the 
rebels. Soon afterwards, confronted by the 
prospect of death, she "became sufficiently 
convinced that she had before made to herself 
a most false god, and that she had never wor 
shipped the GOD revealed in the Scriptures." 

Frederick Denison Maurice 9 

So this extraordinary household continued ; 
outwardly in harmony around the breakfast 
table, but retiring afterwards to compose letters 
to each other, from the drawing-room to the 
study, concerning the most intricate prob 
lems of theological difference. The children 
believed themselves persecuted. Elizabeth, the 
eldest, embraced with ardour the doctrines of 
the Church of England. Anne, the younger, 
joined the chapel of Mr. Vernon, a Baptist ; 
and a kind of lesser warfare broke out between 
the two on the respective merits of Establish 
ment and Dissent. The mother drifted into 
the full, rigid creed of Calvinism, becoming 
convinced of the existence of the elect, and at 
the same time that she was not one of them. 
The father confronted the whole disturbance 
with a kind of helpless disgust ; filled with 
foreboding lest his only boy should also be 
found to repudiate the belief which he cherished 
with all the confidence of a life s experience. 

In such confused and cloudy atmosphere 
the child struggled towards manhood. He 
appeared as a boy " puzzled into silence by 
the conflicting elements around him " ; much 
given to reading and solitude ; his favourite 
companion his sister Emma ; distinguished 
from the beginning by that shyness and 
humility which was to be manifested in all 
his days, as well as by that purity of action 
and intention which drew so many towards 
him in after years. He was interested by his 

io Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

father in new schemes of social improvement. 
He was living already in a world of abstractions 
rather than of real things. " I never knew 
him to commit even an ordinary fault," was 
the testimony of his cousin : " he was the 
gentlest, most docile and affectionate of crea 
tures." Before fifteen he had solemnly pledged 
himself, with another, " to endeavour to 
distinguish ourselves in after life, and to 
promote as far as lies in our power the good 
of mankind." If there is much admirable in 
this, there is also something a little forced and 
unnatural. Maurice, as a child, is not found 
playing games or collecting natural treasures, 
or enjoying that freedom " to run, to ride, 
to swim" in three elements, which was mould 
ing Kingsley s sensitive and impetuous spirit. 
The system has something of the remoteness 
and oppression of the system of the youthful 
Mill. The consequences were equally manifest 
in after years. " It is better to let Nature 
have her way," the one might have agreed 
with the other, " I was never a child." 

But one dominant desire entered into the 
very fibre of his being. The experience of a 
divided household, and of the miseries thereby 
entailed, awoke in him a longing for the Unity 
which seemed to him the ultimate goal of all 
human endeavour. " The desire for Unity has 
haunted me all my life through," is a later 
confession of an inheritance from the troubles 
of a child. " I have never been able to sub- 

Frederick Denison Maurice 1 1 

stitute any desire for that, or to accept any 
of the different schemes for satisfying it which 
men have devised." 

By a kind of irony he came to find the 
satisfaction for this longing in the very Name 
of that Trinity in Unity which was the subject 
of those painful family quarrels. " I not only 
believe in the Trinity in Unity," is a later 
assertion, " but I find in it the centre of all my 
beliefs ; the rest of my spirit when I contem 
plate myself or mankind. But, strange as it may 
seem, I owe the depth of this belief in a great 
measure to my training in my home. The 
very name that was used to describe the denial 
of this doctrine is the one which most expresses 
to me the end that I have been compelled, 
even in spite of myself, to seek." 

Gloom, stimulated by the merciless doctrines 
of the now dominant family creed, took posses 
sion of his soul at the time of awakening man 
hood. In an individual experience which here 
but expressed a wide companionship of child- 
suffering, he became convinced that an Election 
beyond man s will had decided his eternal 
destiny, and that his lot would be numbered 
among the lost. He writes of himself as 
" a being destined to a few short years of 
misery here, as an earnest of, and preparation 
for, that more enduring state of wretchedness 
and woe." 

He abandoned the idea of the ministry, 
Unitarian or Christian. And, although the 

12 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

ultimate despair was lightened by the wise 
counsel of a friend, he was still in a condition 
of perplexity and confusion when he passed to 
the University, for a first experience of a 
world in which he had developed so aloof and 

In 1823 Maurice entered Trinity College, 
Cambridge. The letters of the early days give 
an impression of a rather painful shyness and 
self-consciousness, an exaggerated humility ; 
the awkwardness of one privately educated 
finding himself suddenly plunged into the 
jolly, noisy tradition of the English Public 
School and University system. Julius Hare, 
his tutor, was the first stimulating influence ; 
the first to recognize also that in this stiff, 
shy, formal youth, he was dealing with a mind 
of unusual distinction. Gradually he crept 
from his shell ; became a member of the Union 
Society, and mixed with those who were busy 
in its debates ; gathered round him in friend 
ship some of the more serious-minded of his 
contemporaries. The most famous of these, 
in part through the natural charm of his 
character, more by the fortune of an early 
death and the inspiration of a biography of 
genius, was John Sterling. Maurice became 
a kind of second father to the famous Apostles 
Club, where, from then until to-day, men of 
originality and talent have discussed the 
universe and their own souls. Despite all 
his efforts towards retirement, he began 

Frederick^ Denison Maurice 1 3 

to be recognized as one of the remarkable 
men of his time. His letters home are still, 
stilted, and pedantic, the letters of one of 
those solemn young men who take themselves 
seriously from the beginning. But they show 
a throwing-off of the first depression and an 
enlargement from the cramped outlook of 
the earlier days. 

Later, Maurice migrated to Trinity Hall, 
designing to study law with a view to a career 
in the legal profession. From here he issued, 
with a friend, the Metropolitan Quarterly Maga 
zine, a vigorous and short-lived Undergraduate 
journal. The work is contemporary and 
alive, the interests mainly in literature. " We 
are aristocrats to the core," he declares in 
one article. He attacks Bentham and the 
Utilitarians, makes scathing onslaughts upon 
personal journalism and gossip, offers advice 
concerning the prevailing system of young 
ladies education. 

At the close of his University career he 
was faced with the dilemma then unhappily 
presented to all the young men owning 
allegiance to any but the State religion. To 
obtain his degree he would be compelled 
publicly to declare himself a member of the 
Church of England. To refuse a degree on 
these terms would be to publicly declare 
himself a repudiator of its principles. He 
was averse to either affirmation. A Fellow 
ship, and probably a distinguished academic 

1 4 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 9 oo 

career, awaited him if he were to make 
the declaration. The very fact that worldly 
advancement seemed bound up with such 
a pronouncement, made him distrust the 
arguments which would lead him to accept 
it. Moreover, like so many of the enquiring 
students of his day, he had grown to hate 
the University system as he found it working. 
It was the system before the Oxford Movement, 
on the one hand, and the scientific eagerness 
on the other, had awakened the dry bones of 
the eighteenth century tradition. Macaulay, 
Tennyson, and others had protested with 
violence against those who "profess to lead 
and teach us nothing, feeding not the heart." 
"The hungry young," was the contemporary 
complaint of a man of genius, " looked up to 
their spiritual nurses, and for food were bidden 
to eat the east wind." 

So Maurice slipped quietly away from 
Cambridge without his degree. With his 
friend Sterling he descended into the great 
welter of London, plunging immediately and 
with zest into all the literary and social 
interests then fermenting in the capital. He 
wrote articles for the Westminster Review. With 
Sterling he joined the London Debating 
Society, distinguished already by the presence 
of John Stuart Mill and his allies. The friends 
formed there a third party of two, equally 
opposed to the Tory and Radical sections. 
His shyness and his exaggerated depreciation 

Frederic^ Venison Maurice 1 5 

of his own attraction and performances pre 
vented his becoming conspicuous in the Society 
at the time. But, if his speech was halting, 
there was no uncertainty about the power of 
his pen. He wrote for Mr. Silk Buckingham s 
literary organ, The Athen<eum^ became editor of 
the Lonaon Literary Chronicle, and finally united 
with some half-dozen friends to purchase 
The Athenaeum outright, of which he was 
installed as editor. 

" So under free auspices, themselves their 
own captains," says Carlyle, " Maurice and 
Sterling set sail for the new voyage of 
adventure into all the world." The advocacy 
of this new organ, with the vehemence of 
youth in it, was in the direction of Reform. 
But from the first Maurice, like Carlyle, 
revealed his divergence from the awakening 
Radicalism of the age. There is an emphasis 
upon enthusiasm in it ; a desire for heroic 
things ; a profound contempt for contemporary 
society and human energy uncharged with the 
inspiration of high purposes ; and an appeal to 
the individual greatness of the individual man. 

Home troubles disturbed these activities. 
His father s fortune was lost in Constitutional 
Spanish Bonds. The Athenaeum proved a 
failure. His sister Emma was dying. Maurice, 
writing on literature and current affairs, and 
collecting in a novel the embodiment of the 
criticism of his age, was still fretting at the 
deeper questions of man s being and destiny. 

uccpcr < 

1 6 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

No clear record exists of the progress of his 
mind during these troublous times. Harassed 
and depressed, convinced that his life was 
a failure and his strength spent for naught, at 
last he consented to embark again upon 
University study with a view to preparation 
for ordination as a minister of the Church of 
England. He chose Oxford for his return, 
partly as a deliberate penance in self-chosen 
subjection to the humiliation of Undergraduate 
life after three years of fancied independence ; 
partly in the hope of learning from that 
atmosphere, with " something of that freedom 
and courage for which the young men whom 
I knew at Cambridge were remarkable, some 
thing more of solidity and reverence for what is 

Early in 1830 Maurice entered again as 
an Undergraduate, at Exeter College, Oxford. 
It was an Oxford still in the sleep of the 
eighteenth century, with Newman an obscure 
town Vicar, and three years to wait before 
Keble s Assize sermon at S. Mary s pro 
claimed the awakening. His Oxford period 
was less remarkable than his Cambridge days. 
Cambridge, indeed, had formed him, and he 
came to the other University as a visitor and 
alien. He was older than most of the men. 
He was very poor. He kept to himself, 
toiling at his books. But he impressed 
Gladstone and others with the sense of his 
honesty and intellectual powers, and became 

FredericJ^ Denison Maurice i J 

a member of the Essay Society called (after 
its founder) the " W. E. G." The times were 
those associated with the struggle over the 
great Reform Bill ; and the " Condition of 
the People " problem was forcing attention 
even in these remote and secluded places. He 
saw riot, midnight fires, the fierce passion of 
the people ; a sudden revelation of the abyss 
which yawned in those days below comfortable 
English society. 

In the midst of the work his sister died. 
He found himself in this great loss detached 
from the things of space and time ; more and 
more carried into the region where the out 
ward show of the world becomes a pageant in 
which man disquieteth himself in vain. He 
felt himself at another crisis in life. He was 
filled with remorse at the constant unrest 
and fever of the past, so much consumed in 
vanity. All the thought and determination 
commenced here to become conscious, which in 
the days to come he was to proclaim as truth 
to his generation. He fell back upon the 
Divine reality from all the weariness of passing 
things. The resolution of all the great souls 
of the past to attain to a knowledge of GOD 
came to proclaim to him the Summum Bonum 
of human action. " All the honesty and truth 
in the world," he wrote at this time, " has 
come from GOD, being manifested in the hearts 
of some men, and from thence affecting the 
general courses of society." He " cannot put 


1 8 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

up with a dream in the place of GOD." The 
cry of human nature through every age is for 
this revelation GOD manifest in the person 
of man, not as Lawgiver or as Sovereign, but 
as Friend. Such a universal longing can be 
satisfied by nothing less than the evidence that 
"the Life was manifest and we have seen it"; 
" That which was from the beginning, which we 
ha^e heard) which we have seen with our eyes, 
which we have looked upon, and our hands have 
handled, of the Word of Lifer 

And if this knowledge of GOD was to him 
the consummation of all human wisdom, the 
losing of self in GOD was the foundation of 
all human morality. " The death of CHRIST," 
he writes in rare, impassioned pleading, " is 
actually, literally the death of you and me." 
"To believe we have any self of our own is 
the Devil s lie : and when he has tempted us 
to believe it and to act as if we had a life 
out of CHRIST, he then mocks us and shows 
us that this life is a very death." " Let us 
believe that we have each a life, our only life, 
not of you nor me, but a universal life in 

Quern nosse est vfoere : cui serVtre regnare 
" whom to know is to live : whom to serve 
is to reign" -or in our old English version, 
"In knowledge of whom standeth our eternal 
life ; whose service is perfect freedom." These 
two principles knowledge of GOD as Eternal 
Life, the object of a passionate energy of all 

Denison ^Maurice 

the powers of the soul ; and the surrender of 
the individual life into that universal Energy 
which is the very life of GOD were to sustain 
his spirit through all the long effort of his 


Maurice was ordained a Deacon in the 
Church of England in 1834, and immediately 
retired to a country curacy at Bubbenhall, five 
miles from Leamington. His desire at such 
a time was for "greater self-abasement," and 
"a more perfect and universal charity." He 
was nearly thirty ; older than the general age 
for ordination. He had experienced the life 
of both Universities. As a layman he had 
realized something of the literary and social 
interests of London, the new desires for change 
which were fermenting among the younger 
and more ardent spirits of the time. He had 
appeared in that company to one acute observer 
as "one alive amongst a wide circle of a 
transitory, phantasmal character." His know 
ledge was encyclopaedic, scarcely paralleled by 
any of his contemporaries. He belonged to 
no school or party in the Church, and was 
unknown to its leaders. 

That Church was nearing a crisis in its 
history. England, in the successful struggle 
over the Reform Bill, and the enormous 
progressive triumph of the first Reformed 
Parliament, had pronounced almost violently 
for change. The Church of England, with 


2O Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

its archaic organization and its feudal ideals, 
was becoming dimly conscious of the necessity 
of putting its house in order. Below the 
aristocratic society of which it was a part, a 
population more forlorn and wretched than 
in any past history, was slowly forcing its 
misery before the attention of the governing 
power. In the world of thought and of action 
the time was full of the sound and promise of 
the dawn. 

Fredericf^ Denison Maurice 2 1 



TV/TAURICE was two years in charge of a 
country parish. They were years of 
a devouring intellectual activity. Eustace 
Conway was published at the beginning, Sub 
scription no Bondage in the middle ; The Kingdom 
of Christ projected at the close. 

Eustace Conway was never referred to by 
Maurice in after life, and one can gather he 
was not particularly proud of his one completed 
experiment in fiction. It is a curious mixture 
of intellectual discussion with the wildest 
melodrama, the kind of novel which, being 
read to-day, has stamped upon every line of 
it the life of a vanished age. 

The title-page bears the challenge from 
Pascal : 

" // est dangereux de trop faire voir a Vhomme 
combien il est egal aux betes, sans lui montrer sa 
grandeur. II est encore dangereux de lui faire 
trop voir sa grandeur, sans sa bassesse. II est 
encore plus dangereux de lui laisser ignorer Pun 
et Tautre. Mais il est tres avantageux de lui 
representer Fun et rautre" 

2 2 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

Each particular chapter has little introductory 
headlines from Byron, Cowper, Goldsmith, and 
similar writers. The conversations are stilted 
and artificial, and it is evident that the author 
has not attained complete command of his 
material. Yet even with these obvious defi 
ciencies and a kind of elaboration of humour 
and style, the work is sharply distinguished 
from the normal production of the first essayist 
in fiction. 

In the long conversations of the first 
volume, Maurice attempts to reproduce some 
thing of his own experience, in his passage from 
the shelter of the University to the intellectual 
and moral turmoil of the capital. Eustace 
Conway, the hero, was often supposed to be 
a picture of himself, but it is more than pro 
bable that, if it represented any living person, 
it was an attempt to depict John Sterling. 

There are denunciations of the old Cambridge 
life, with the College producing "the most 
withering, benumbing influence ever exerted 
over a human spirit." " These dark shadows 
and solemn damps chilled the course of my 
blood. The whole of my existence among 
them was a vain and purposeless dream," cries 
Eustace Conway to his sister. "The men 
are not so blameable," he declared in another 
place, " though no doubt the vast majority are 
idiots, and ninety-nine out of one hundred of 
the remainder will be knaves. It is the system 
which is so utterly intolerable." 

Frederick Dcnison Maurice 23 

Eustace, in later talk, flames out against 
being called a Whig. " If there is an animal 
in the universe that I loathe," he states, "it 
is a Whig." And here also Maurice or 
Sterling is speaking. 

He passes to irony when he deals with the 
Societies of Moral Philosophers, " who assemble 
twice a week," in Goldsmith s words, " in 
order to show the absurdity of the present 
mode of religion and to establish a new one 
in its stead." All this conversation and dis 
cussion of ultimate philosophies is set in the 
midst of London society, with around a most 
violent action ; mysterious Spanish revolu 
tionists, mysterious Spanish ladies, baffled 
and illtreated adventurers, violence, despair. 
Wanderers from other lands enter the tale 
to describe the heavy oppression of England. 
"That dense, commercial strength which one 
encounters even in your religion," says one 
of these, " is a more overpowering nightmare 
upon the soul than any bad influence I have 
felt elsewhere. There were times when I could 
scarcely bear up against it, when the myriads 
of eyes which I encountered, all riveted upon 
gain, seemed to be invested with a sort of 
Medusan enchantment." 

Eustace, after enlarging his contempt for 
most creeds, to all creeds, in a kind of Byronic 
reaction against the whole of the sorry farce 
of human things, is drawn back by his dying 
sister into acceptance of the historic Faith. He 

24 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

had acknowledged Society as God with the 
Utilitarians. He had acknowledged Self as 
God with the Spiritualists. He now confessed 
that He is GOD whose praise is in the 
Churches ; and at each stage he seemed to 
have gained more arrogance. By the bedside 
of his dying sister he learned, as Maurice 
himself learned in similar circumstance, some 
thing of the possibilities of sacrifice of the 
individual desires in obedience to the Divine 
Will. Eustace is left at the end with the 
exhortation of his friend : " True the strife 
must continue till your death, and that from 
first to last it is a strife against principalities 
and powers. Yet do not be discouraged. The 
worst of your toil is over, for henceforth you 
will know who are your enemies and upon 
whom you must depend for succour. You 
have learnt that we are not men unless we 
are free, and that we are not free unless we 
are living in subjection to the law which made 

us so." 

Of very different weight and interests was 
the next of Maurice s publications. With his 
pamphlet on the Subscription controversy, the 
first of a long list of polemical publications, 
Maurice made his plunge into the troubled 
waters of theological strife. The leaders at 
Oxford in a rally against Liberalism, were 
fighting the demands of the reformers for the 
abolition of subscription to the Thirty-nine 

Denison Maurice 

Articles in the University, and the throwing 
open of its resources to men of all religious 
beliefs. It was with the encouragement of 
these men, therefore, welcoming a new and 
valuable recruit, that Maurice produced his 
paradoxical plea for subscription as a guarantee 
of liberty. He seemed to take Liberalism 
with a flank attack, to smite it in an undefended 
quarter, and his attitude here and henceforth 
caused amazement amongst those who were 
" fighting for liberty in the trammels of an 
historic creed." 

From this time commenced a long series 
of gibes and sneers at a philosopher who could 
think that the heights and depths of the 
universe were comprehended within the 
boundaries of sixteenth century thought. 
"Deep respect for Maurice," says Leslie 
Stephen, "admiration of his subtlety and 
power of generalization, only increased Mill s 
wonder that he could find all truth in the 
Thirty-nine Articles." The sneer was unjust. 
Maurice neither at this time nor at any time 
professed that he could find "all truth in the 
Thirty-nine Articles." It was at least with 
some direct experience of the alternative 
position the knowledge of the uncontrolled 
ravages of tyranny, promoted in a Church 
without some impersonal standard of belief 
that he came to plead so passionately for the 
maintenance of ancient, time-worn formularies. 
The intellectuals were perplexed and disgusted. 

26 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

The contemptuous guffaw of Carlyle, the thin 
sneers of Froude, were directed against a 
theologian who appeared as a philosopher, in 
his fight for the retaining of prison bonds and 
the paralysing influence of dead things. The 
offence was especially annoying in the work 
of one who combined so much intellectual 
power with such transparent sincerity of 
purpose. The majority of those who resisted 
Reform could be easily relegated by the clever 
men of the day to the two limbos which (in 
their vision) included most of the orthodox 
faith those of the knave and of the fool. 
But here was one who could challenge all 
their knowledge of past systems, of undis 
puted intellectual power, combined with an 
honesty of purpose and unworldliness of 
temperament utterly indifferent to temporal 
advantage. The almost mystical inspiration 
of a prophet and seer who seemed at times 
to be caught into the seventh heaven, and 
to return with some memory of its glories, 
perplexed and confused the defenders of 
liberty as they saw the same energy and 
sincerity exalting these little chopped-up 
fragments of Tudor theology. 

Afterwards Maurice came to recognize that 
his position was mistaken. Here, as in so 
many of his controversies, he was fighting on 
a different plane from his antagonists, and 
looking towards other horizons. He had 
been living in the region of philosophic issues. 

tderick Ttenison Maurice 

He was repudiating here, from all the lessons 
of the past, the conception of progress as being 
encouraged by a thin and watery creed. The 
more vague a creed becomes so Liberalism 
thought then, so Liberalism thinks to-day the 
more true it is to reality and the more efficient 
as a guide of life. For Maurice, " every hope 
for human culture, for the reconciliation of 
opposing schools, for blessings to mankind," 
rested on a theology. Against the Liberal 
toleration which he prophesied would become 
a Liberal tyranny the belief in " undenomina 
tional" religion he set up defiantly the 
standard of a definite and deliberate affirmation 
concerning GOD and man, and the relationship 
of the One to the other. 

But the practical question was on a different 
plane of argument whether young Non 
conformists should be debarred from academic 
success unless they deliberately confessed a 
theology which they did not believe. " Liberals 
were clearly right," he came to acknowledge 
thirty-six years afterwards, " in saying that 
the Articles did not mean to those who signed 
them at the University or on taking Orders, 
what I supposed them to mean, and I was 
wrong. They were right in saying that sub 
scription did mean to most the renunciation 
of a right to think, and, since none could 
renounce that right, it involved dishonesty." 
Yet to the end also he refused that rejection 
of dogmatic formula, which was the impulse 

28 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

behind the movement towards freedom. He 
would admit any one with a definite creed 
gladly. He would not acquiesce in the 
demand for the compounding of all the creeds 
together in a mortar and the finding of truth 
in the residuum. He refused to entertain any 
hospitality to that vague and diffused undog- 
matic religion which is so dear to the heart of 
the man of the world. " They have acquired 
a new name," he wrote many years later. 
" They are called Broad Churchmen now, and 
delight to be called so. But their breadth 
seems to me to be narrowness. They include 
all kinds of opinions. But what message 
have they for the people who do not live 
on opinions ? " 

Early in 1836 Maurice returned to London 
to become chaplain at Guy s Hospital. The 
work here was more congenial to him than that 
of a country parish, where his constitutional 
shyness was a check to free intercourse, and 
the whole feudal system of Church and 
society challenged the principles which he was 
elaborating in his own mind. With the sick 
and dying he was more at home. He could 
turn to realities amongst those who were 
being unwillingly forced into the facing of real 
things. He had "great pleasure" in collect 
ing the patients in a ward round the bedside 
of one of the most sick, and reading and 
explaining the Bible to them. He tried 

Frederick Denison Maurice 

to influence, and to some extent succeeded 
in influencing, the medical students at the 
hospital, lecturing to a select few on moral 
philosophy. He received as a pupil Mr. 
Strachey (afterwards Sir Edward Strachey), 
who has left interesting records of his 
experience in Maurice s teaching. 

Here he watched the courses of the times ; 
especially, and, with foreboding, the later 
progress of the Oxford Movement. He 
found himself more and more drifting away 
from sympathy with the leaders who at first 
had hailed him as an ally. He allowed 
himself to be nominated for the Chair of 
Political Economy at Oxford in order definitely 
to assert the position that political economy 
is " not the foundation of morals and politics, 
but must have them for its foundation or be 
worth nothing " ; a principle which the work 
of Ruskin was to make familiar to a younger 
generation, but which in those days appeared 
as but idle words. 

And at this time he issued a series of tracts 
in the form of Letters to a Quaker , which were 
later to be collected and developed into his great 
work on The Kingdom of Christ. The second 
of these tracts, a reply to the famous tract of 
Dr. Pusey on Baptism, excited an open rupture 
with the Oxford leaders. From this moment 
commenced that long and chequered career of 
religious controversy in which all parties in 
turn at times welcomed Maurice as an ally 

UUU al 

30 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

and at times repudiated him as a deserter. 
His position in his lifetime was never under 
stood. He defended not merely his own 
opinion but liberty of opinion ; and the plain 
man outside seemed to see him tacking 
wildly in advocacy of Evangelical or Catholic 
or extreme Liberal principles. He rushed in 
impetuously to defend the weakest side 
attacked, and the sight of authority or mob- 
power replacing reason and argument was 
sufficient to summon him like a trumpet-call to 
the battle. In the controversies themselves he 
was fighting on a different plane of thought 
to that of his opponents. Very few of the 
leaders of the various parties had any know 
ledge of modern philosophy. Newman, the 
greatest of all, only came to read Kant in 
his old age. While they were dealing with 
points of historical accuracy or the affirma 
tions of a dogmatic system, he was concerned 
with movement in a region where these dog 
matic assertions took upon themselves new 
values. The plain principles of the plain 
man were found to lead upward to a realm 
where familiar things lost their hard, sharp 
outlines. Amongst the audience, therefore, 
for the most part unacquainted with meta 
physical discussion, and failing to translate 
the theological symbolism into terms of uni 
versal significance, the often startling changes 
of position which Maurice appeared to be 
making and his difficulty of expressing himself 

Frederick Denis on Maurice 3 1 

in language which they could understand, 
led many in impatience to brand him as a 
"muddy mystic," exciting at once bewilder 
ment and despair. 

The Kingdom of Christ forms the first, and, 
in many respects, the most important of 
Maurice s works. All the " Maurician " the 
ology is in these volumes. With the great 
History of Philosophy, the work remains to 
day, of all his enormous output in the literature 
of the time, the one element which has attained 
some permanent value. The rest is, in the 
main, of historic interest. The letters make 
up the confession of a progress, the apologia 
of one who had passed " on a journey " 
to his present haven. The journey was the 
reverse of the normal pilgrimage. Thousands 
in those days had been brought up in ortho 
dox belief in the orthodox formularies of the 
Church of England, and passed with widening 
knowledge into a Unitarian or rational position. 
Those who had experienced the reverse process 
were few and remarkable. And the most 
indifferent were challenged by the piquancy 
of the record of one who had experienced 
the freer air of a religion without tests or 
dogmas, passing back into worship of a 
"dead CHRIST" and "tangled Trinities." 

" Hints to a Quaker " runs the sub-tide, 
"concerning the principles, conception and 
ordinances of the Catholic Church." The 
problem in its ultimate challenge was that of 

32 Leaders of tbe Church 1800-1900 

a spiritual kingdom and its membership. 
The Quakers had sought to establish a 
spiritual kingdom in the world. "Did not 
such a kingdom exist already ? " asked 
Maurice, "and were not those ordinances 
rejected by the Quakers the expression of 
it ? " The French Revolution had rever 
berated through the thought of Europe. 
Europe could never be quite the same again. 
All men had been summoned to the ultimate 
examination What is the basis of society ? 
What holds in reality man to man ? Is there 
a universal society for man as man ? Maurice 
refers back to the teaching of Coleridge, his 
master, especially concerning the ordinances 
of the Church ; that " these are not empty 
memorials, or charms and fetishes, but signs 
to the race " ; signs of the existence of that 
Universal Order which is the object of the 
enquiry, and which belongs in its essence to 
the world of real things outside the illusions 
of space and time. " They are the voice," he 
claims, " in which GOD speaks to His creatures ; 
the very witness that their fellowship with 
each other rests on their fellowship with Him, 
and both upon the mystery of His being ; 
the very means by which we are meant to rise 
to the enjoyment of the highest blessing which 
He has bestowed upon us." In this way 
" there rose up before me," says Maurice, 
" the idea of a Church universal, not built 
upon human inventions or human faith, but 

Frederick Denison Maurice 

on the very nature of GOD Himself and 
upon the union which He has formed with 
His creatures ; a Church revealed to man 
as a fixed and eternal reality by means which 
Infinite Wisdom had itself devised." 

The Church as a witness to the ideal fellow 
ship which alone can make significant and 
intelligible the life of man ; protesting always 
against that individual selfishness and egotism 
which is at all times tearing society asunder 
into its constituent and warring atoms ; 
this was the reality which Maurice made it 
his business to proclaim. " The world would 
have been torn in pieces by its individual 
factions," he declares, " if there had not been 
this bond of peace and fellowship in the midst 
of it- 
Much of the investigation is historic. With 
a wealth of knowledge and illustration Maurice 
takes his readers through the chaotic regions 
of post-Reformation theology. From Greek 
philosophy downward through the centuries 
he traces the consensus of testimony to this 
struggle in the life of man between two 
principles : " one tending downwards, one 
upward ; one belonging to the earth, one 
claiming fellowship with something pure and 
Divine." From Luther and Calvin, through 
Fox and the early Quakers, in the Unitarian 
and Methodist movements of the eighteenth 
century, he finds this search for a Kingdom ; 
a Kingdom not of this world ; fixed upon 


a iving 

3 4 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

securer foundations than any to be found in 
the shifting sands of time. He discerns a 
Catholic tendency even in the theology which 
can be traced most directly to a Protestant 
origin. Man cannot live alone ; cannot stand 
as an isolated individual ; and all attempts to 
separate him from his fellows, or to show 
him fulfilling the purpose of his being in an 
ideal in which his fellows have no share, have 
always ended in bitterness and disaster. Even 
Protestant Germany "cannot be content with 
a purely Protestant system. Catholicism it 
must have, either in the form of Pantheism 
or of definite Christianity." 

The same lesson is driven home again as 
he investigates the philosophical movements of 
the time, and those new ideals of society with 
which the Revolution had changed the surface 
of the world. He criticizes Positivism and 
" the social work of Mr. Owen (Robert Owen, 
the Socialist leader and head of the New 
Lanark experiment) in the manufacturing 
districts." "The problem how to deal with 
the population concentrated there," he says, 
" is the most awful one which presents 
itself to the modern politician. Any one who 
could offer but a suggestion on the subject, 
especially if it were the result of experience, 
were entitled to a hearing." Everywhere he 
found individualism, whether of the solitary 
life, or of a class, or of a nation, crumbling to 
pieces ; as man called out for the realization 

Unison Maurice 

of that Kingdom which should unite him to 
his fellows, and find the realization of his life s 
purpose in the common welfare. Combination, 
not divested of religious sympathies, but with 
a piteous fury striving to seize and to appro 
priate them to its own ends, he found as 
the keynote of the age. Yet " any modern 
attempt to construct a universal society," he 
declares, "has been defeated by the determination 
of men to assert their wills." "The true 
universal society, mankind is convinced, must 
be one which does not overlook these wills 
nor regret them, but must assume them as the 
very principle and explanation of its existence." 
And it is " equally impossible for man to be 
content with a spiritual society which is not 
universal, and a universal society which is not 

Mankind, therefore, has everywhere looked 
to a comity of righteousness and everywhere 
demanded a King. That which we expect, 
say the Evangelists, is a Kingdom. This 
JESUS of Nazareth we believe and affirm to 
be the King for whom mankind has longed 
so earnestly. The critic has therefore to 
reject one of these propositions. He must 
either declare that men are not in need of a 
spiritual and universal society, or that this 
Person has not the credentials of the character 
which He assumes. Maurice attempts to de 
monstrate the falsity of both these propositions. 
The unity at the root of all union among men, 

The un 

36 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

the deep foundations upon which rest the 
pillars of the universe, must be revealed, he 
asserts, in gradual discovery through the forces 
and relations of human society. On the one 
hand, he challenges the world to convince this 
King of anything in His nature and teaching 
contrary to the ideal of the Divine headship in 
a universal order. On the other, he interprets 
the outward signs and manifestations of the 
Kingdom which He has founded as being in 
their nature universal ; standing for the affirma 
tion of this unchallenged truth. The entrance 
into the Kingdom through Baptism into the 
Name connected with admission to it through 
all the centuries, he defends against the Quaker, 
the Baptist, the modern Protestant, the modern 
philosopher ; as affirming men to be in a certain 
state of fellowship in a real Kingdom of Heaven 
upon earth, a Kingdom of which the principle 
must be ever the same, a Kingdom to which 
all kings are meant to be in subjection. " The 
operation of this spirit upon him is to draw him 
continually out of himself, to teach him to 
disclaim all independent virtue, to bring him 
into the knowledge and image of the FATHER 
and the SON." Against such a conception of 
Baptism he rejects those who make it appear 
" that the blessing of Baptism is not this that 
it receives men into the holy communion of 
saints ; but that it bestows upon them certain 
individual blessings, endows them with a certain 
individual holiness." 



Frederick Denison Maurice 

In similar fashion he examines all the signs 
of the Kingdom Baptism, the Eucharist, the 
Ministry, the Scriptures putting, it must be 
confessed forcibly and fairly, the discontent 
with each of these as they are criticized from 
various sources : the Quakers, who believe in 
the Kingdom without signs ; the Protestant 
dissenters, who think the signs have been per 
verted; the philosophers and rationalists, who 
believe neither in the Kingdom nor the signs ; 
and the Romanists, "who have perverted the 
signs." This is of the nature of controversy, 
and Maurice hits hard, apparently unconscious 
of the offence which such hitting must often 
give. No one who really studied The Kingdom 

Christ could ever again make the mistake, 
so common in his generation, of identifying 
Maurice with the Broad Churchmen of his day. 
Not only does he hate the " Broad Church " as 
a system or a party as fiercely as he hates all 
systems and all parties. He is entirely antip 
athetic to the Liberal position. To him the 
Creeds are of vital significance ; the Eucharist 
the guarantee of a Real Presence ; the Ministry 
endowed with a real power of binding and 
loosing ; the Prayer Book and the Thirty-nine 
Articles far nearer the truth of things than 
the thin and troubled speculations of the 
nineteenth century. The Liberals, in a word, 
are rationalists ; Maurice is a mystic, seeking 
and finding immediately beneath and beyond 
the surface-show of things those spiritual 

38 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

realities upon which the foundations of the 
Church are laid : the Kingdom, as he sees it, 
with its signs and its laws and its unity. 
Here is a fellowship not made with hands, 
unchallenged by the centuries, set up against 
the individual lusts of the world. It is no 
product of a kindly dream. Its existence forms 
the only key to the confused enigma of human 
life. Its triumph will herald the Consummation 
of all things. 

Against a reference to the Bible alone he 
clings to an historic Creed. "The man," he 
says, " who seriously believes that the Bible is 
the only document which has been preserved to 
men by Divine care and providence, is separated 
by the very narrowest plank from absolute 
atheism ; a plank," he adds with prophetic 
insight, " so narrow and fragile that in a very 
short time it will be broken down." Of the 
Eucharist, " it has been the most holy symbol 
to nations," he declares, " between which, race, 
political institutions, and acquired habits, had 
established the most seemingly impossible 
barriers." He would appear to agree with a 
modern essayist and statesman who finds the 
belief in the Mass the most enduring evidence 
of a real religion in Europe. "Now in this nine 
teenth century," he affirms, "there are not a few 
persons who have arrived at this deep and inward 
conviction, that the question whether Chris 
tianity shall be a practical principle and truth in 
the hearts of men, or shall be extinguished for 

Frederick Denison Maurice 

a set of intellectual notions or generalizations, 
depends mainly on the question, whether the 
Eucharist shall or shall not be acknowledged and 
received as the bond of a universal life and the 
means whereby men become partakers of it." 
"Go and tell men," he says in another passage, 
in a rare outbreak of irony, " that the Eucharist 
is not a real bond between CHRIST and His 
members, but a picture or likeness which by a 
violent act of our will we may turn into reality. 
Thus you will fulfil GOD S commission ; thus 
you will reform a corrupt and sinful land." 

He will have nothing to do with the limita 
tion of its significance to that of a memorial, or 
with the belief that faith is not a receptive but a 
creative power that it makes the thing which it 
believes. " The impression that this Sacrament 
is a reality in spite of all men s attempts to 
prove it and make it a fiction, has kept alive 
the belief that the Presence of GOD is a truth 
and not a dream." 

Later he passes to the discussion of the relation 
of this Universal Church with national bodies ; 
to a passionate affirmation of the national 
character of a true Church ; and an attempt to 
discriminate the functions of civil law and the 
functions of ecclesiastical discipline. He finds 
the unity of the Church, under the distinc 
tions and limitations of national bodies, in 
certain permanent ordinances in which the 
character and universality of the Church are 
expressed. He is impressed with the changes 

4O Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

which are coming upon mankind, especially in 
this re-moulding of the form of ecclesiastical 
society. Everywhere men are coming together 
towards unity. " Shall we not rejoice and give 
thanks," he cries, " that we are born in these 
latter days of the world when all things are 
hastening to their consummation, and when the 
unity of the Church shall be established, to be 
that ground upon which all unity in nations and 
in the heart of men is resting ? " 

At the end he comes down to the earth again, 
to deal with the practical exigencies of the situa 
tion. " Only a Church," he defiantly asserts, 
" can educate a nation." To confine its work 
to the mere teaching of dogma is destructive of 
the very idea of education. " The sects," as he 
somewhat unhappily terms the non-episcopal 
bodies, cannot do it, for " they cannot connect 
the institution of the family, as such, with their 
religion." For they look upon the religious 
body as something different in kind from the 
family. Nor can the State do it. It aims at 
making men citizens. It cannot teach them to 
be sons and brothers. The statesman must have 
his schools established upon the express principle 
that the parents are not competent to teach or 
to choose teachers themselves. "All wise 
statesmen of antiquity," says Maurice, " felt 
this difficulty, and rejoiced to avail themselves 
of such means as they had of escape from it." 
He warns modern statesmen that they will be 
found in similar perplexity if they pursue 

Frederick Denison Maurice 41 

similar courses. This applies even to purely 
scientific education. "The maxim of a State 
education must always be, how much nobler a 
thing it is to make shoes than to seek for 
principles." But "a National Church, strong 
in the conviction of its own distinct powers, 
paying respectful homage to those of the State, 
educating all classes to be citizens by making 
them men, is the only alternative to Jesuitry 
on the one hand and an arid empiricism on the 

Finally, he appeals in impassioned language 
to the National Church to take up the burden 
of its high calling. Against ignorant parties, 
High, Low, Broad, he appeals to the Liturgy ; 
so far distinctively English, that it may be taken 
as expressive of the mind of the English Church. 
None of that Church s great sons were content 
with a system. " All affirmed a kingdom," he 
cries. He is filled with scorn against all 
Church parties and their newspapers and 
reviews, "generously striving that no other 
party shall have the stigma of being more 
unfair and libellous than their own." He 
urges special attention to " the awful manu 
facturing districts." "A Church which was 
looked upon, and almost looked upon itself, 
as a tool of the aristocracy, which compared 
its own orders with the ranks in civil society, 
and forgot that it existed to testify that man as 
man is the object of his Creator s sympathy ; 
uch a Church had no voice which could 

suc a 

42 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

reach the hearts of these multitudes." Nor 
is the clamour of a revivalist religion to each 
individual to save his own soul proving more 
adequate. " Such words spoken with true 
earnestness are very mighty. But they are not 
enough ; men feel that they are not merely lost 
creatures ; they look up to heaven above them, 
and ask whether it can be true that this is the 
whole account of their condition ; that their 
sense of right and wrong, their cravings for 
fellowship, their consciousness of being creatures 
having powers which no other creatures possess, 
are all nothing." " If religion," they say, "will 
give us no explanation of these feelings, if it 
can only tell us about a fall for the whole race, 
and an escape for a few individuals of it, then 
our wants must be satisfied without religion. 
Then begin Chartism and Socialism and what 
ever schemes make rich men tremble." 

He passes to the vision of the Church beyond 
the boundaries of England. He calls for 
activity in the new colonies, in missionary effort 
which can never succeed " except in the preach 
ing of an organic society." He can even 
cherish hope for the Church of Ireland if it 
would abandon the English interest, become 
national, and assert : " We are come over as 
protectors of these Celts. We are to raise them 
out of barbarism ! " 

He concludes on a note of mingled exaltation 
and humility : " I have in this book," he con 
fesses, " attacked no wrong tendency to which 

Frederick Denison Maurice 43 

I do not know myself to be liable." " I am 
not ignorant that the hints I have offered in 
opposition to systems may be turned by them 
selves or by others into a system." " I do pray 
earnestly that if any such schools should arise 
they may come to naught, and that if what I 
have written in this book should tend even in 
the least degree to favour the establishment of 
them, it may come to naught." 

" Let all Thine enemies perish, O LORD* : all 
systems, schools, parties, which have hindered 
men from seeing the largeness and freedom and 
glory of Thy kingdom : but let them that love 
Thee, in whatever earthly mists they may at 
present be involved, * be as the sun when he 
goeth forth in his strength.* 

The Kingdom of (Christ threw down a challenge 
defiantly to all of a particular class of news 
papers. The " Religious Press " still flourishes 
mightily in Britain. It has no parallel else 
where. In the early forties it formed a 
system of triumphant tyranny. With its 
dogmatism, its lack of charity, its willingness 
to crush all new movements and unpopular 
causes, it appealed always against the solitary 
thinker to the massed forces of a crowd. To 
Maurice it seemed to be brewed out of the 
fumes of the nether pit. His life was a long, 
fierce warfare against a collection of newspapers, 
notably The Record^ which recognized that in 
fighting him they were fighting for their very 

44 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

existence, and which gave and took no quarter. 
This Record, the official organ of the rich and 
prosperous Evangelical section of the Church, 
exercised at this time an unchallenged domin 
ance over the minds of its readers, and weighed 
heavily upon the religious life of England. 
The daily newspapers were accustomed to refer 
to it for information upon matters ecclesiastical. 
The normal mind, distrustful of new things, 
found its heavy platitudes entirely congruous 
with the timidity which dreads the unknown. 
It was always prepared to stamp out any 
minority provided that minority were suffi 
ciently small. Its combination of worldliness 
and intolerance, its proclamation of " comfort 
able things" to a society which seemed to 
Maurice to be needing a prophecy of warning 
and judgment, its influence upon preferment, 
and the universal fear it inspired among those 
who would fain have challanged its domination, 
drove him headlong into a warfare against it 
which daily deepened in bitterness. It must be 
confessed that he commenced the conflict ; and 
at any time if he had left the paper alone, its 
directors might have been content to abandon 
the attacks upon him. But to leave it alone was 
just what he would never consent to do. He 
considered that its enormous power represented 
one of the elements of that " devil-worship " 
which he found everywhere around him ; and he 
was determined never to cease fighting until he 
had broken its rule. " On his part," confesses 

Frederic]^ Denison Maurice 45 

his son, " the war was one of aggression. 
None of them had attacked him the moment 
he denounced them. But once the issue was 
joined they were struggling for their very 
existence. If he could turn the religious world 
into recognizing the essential atheism of the 
religious Press, their occupation was gone. On 
both sides, therefore, it was a war in which no 
quarter could be given." 

From the publication of The Kingdom of Christ 
to the violent effort towards a social upheaval 
which culminated in 1848, Maurice s life in 
London is the record of an immense activity. 

Happiness had come to him from his 
marriage to Anne Barton, sister-in-law to 
Sterling, in 1837. This new link with Sterling 
made him all the more anxious concerning the 
physical decline and mental difficulties of his 
dearly-loved friend. The marriage itself, in 
his own words, " brought a change from cloud 
to perpetual sunshine." He was continuing 
his work at the great hospital in the service of 
the sick and dying. He was showering religious 
tracts upon the disturbed theological waters, in 
which the full flood-tide of the Oxford Move 
ment was dashing itself against the rocks of 
religious prejudice and religious indifference. 
He was intensely absorbed in the new changes 
which politics were bringing upon the nation, 
in the disappointments which followed the 
failure of the high hopes associated with the 

46 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

Reform Movement of 1832. And he was more 
and more compelled to turn his attention to 
that immense class of disenfranchised populace 
whose sufferings and demands the comfortable 
and leisured classes confronted with vague fore 
bodings ; to challenge their intolerable condition 
with that vision of Unity, in a common family, 
under one Father, which he had proclaimed as 
the good news of the Kingdom of GOD. 

His demands in connexion with national 
education were immediately confronted with the 
slow developments of the time. Gladstone in 
those remote days was advocating that a school 
master should not be allowed to teach in the 
elementary schools without a certificate from 
the Bishop of his religious soundness. Maurice 
was no more backward in insisting that the 
business of education belonged to the Church 
and not to the State. His lectures bearing the 
title, " Has the Church or the State power to 
educate the nation ?", subsequently published in 
book-form, flung down the gage of battle to 
everything which was held sacred by the Radi 
calism of his time. The Educational Magazine, 
of which he became joint editor, continued the 
controversy. " The thing he most dreaded," 
says his son, "was the attempt to treat a human 
being as composed of two entities, one called 
religious, the other secular." The transference 
of the education of the people from the Church 
to the State he was prepared to oppose to the 
end. More logical than most, he saw here the 

Frederick Denison Maurice 47 

impossibility of permanence in any of those 
huddled compromises which have represented 
the successive steps in the building of a national 
educational system. He knew that there was 
no permanence in any kind of combination 
which would break up the child s mind between 
different sections of interest, and warn off re 
ligion from one and State subsidy from the other. 
And if the whole course of modern development 
has travelled steadily farther from his first prin 
ciples, at least it may be recognized that he 
saw more clearly than most the logical alterna 
tives then embodied in tiny beginnings, and 
that the verdict upon any system having the 
note of finality has not yet been declared. 

In the practical encouragement of a larger 
educational system in England, Maurice threw 
himself heartily into the work of reform. From 
his Undergraduate days, when in his first pub 
lication he had criticized the education of girls, 
he had reached forward towards something 
better than that caricature of training which 
passed in those days for the education of 
women. In his more mature life he was the 
driving force in the making of Queen s 
College, of which foundation he was the life 
and inspiration. " Though many have watered 
and tended the plant," was the confession in 
after years of the Archbishop of Dublin 
(Trench), " the vital seed in which it was all 
wrapped up, and out of which every part was 
unfolded, was sown by him." 

U111U1U. 1 

48 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

A fresh field of exploration was opened by 
the friendship of the Macmillans, two young 
Scotch publishers, who were full of desire for 
the satisfaction of the religious needs of the 
young business-men of the time. Mr. Daniel 
Macmillan in 1840 had written to Archdeacon 
Hare explaining to him something of the 
chaotic condition of the young city men with 
whom he daily came in contact. It was the 
story of a general ferment, with the new 
thought confronting in perplexity the sterile 
phrases of the orthodox theology. Hare 
forwarded the letter to Maurice, but no 
immediate action followed. Two years after 
wards Mr. Macmillan wrote to Hare again 
on the same subject. He explained the 
thoughts and difficulties of the clerks, work 
men, and shopmen in this new growing city 
civilization ; their endeavours to find a working 
creed of life ; their attendance at Chartist and 
Socialist meetings and their dissatisfaction with 
them ; their profound dissociation from all the* 
Churches. " There is no spiritual guidance in 
existence," was his forlorn summary, " at all 
equal to the wants of our time." Hare again 
appealed to Maurice, and Macmillan called and 
was welcomed as a friend. For many months 
there were frequent discussions concerning the 
most appropriate method of appeal, in the name 
of an historic theology, to the citizens of a 
kingdom which had lost the note of its origins. 
" We have been dosing our people with re- 

Frederick Denison Maurice 49 

ligion," was Maurice s complaint, " when what 
they want is not this but the living GOD ; and 
we are threatened now, not with the loss of 
religious feeling, so-called, or of religious 
notions, or of religious observances, but with 
atheism." "The heart and the flesh of our 
countrymen is crying out for GOD. We give 
them a stone for bread, systems for realities ; 
they despair of ever attaining what they 
need. The upper classes become, as may 
happen, sleekly devout, for the sake of good 
order, avowedly believing that one must make 
the best of the world without GOD ; the middle 
classes try what may be done by keeping them 
selves warm in dissent and agitation, to kill the 
sense of hollowness ; the poor, who must have 
realities of some kind, understanding from 
their betters that all but houses and lands are 
abstractions, must make a grasp at them or else 
destroy them." " And the specific for all this 
evil is some Evangelical discourse upon the 
Bible being the rule of faith, some High 
Church cry for tradition, some Liberal theory of 
education." All are dead things, he cried it 
is the burden of all his message except in so 
far as they are " pointing towards a Living 
Being, to know whom is life," and leading us 
to that knowledge, and so to fellowship one 
with another. These were the things which 
he felt " I must utter or burst." 

In the midst of such a confusion he saw the 
Oxford Movement pursuing its hazardous 


50 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

courses and staggering towards the final catas 
trophe. It was academic, concerned with theory 
and ancient controversies. It had not yet come 
down into the common ways of men in the 
tumult of the city, and there were no signs in 
those days that it would ever consent to such a 
progress. It seemed to Maurice destined to 
waste itself more and more over things remote 
and futile. And, although he was always 
prepared to rush in to defend its leaders 
against the tyranny of mob-domination, yet he 
was also finding himself more and more com 
pelled to testify against its later developments. 
In the controversy concerning the Jerusalem 
bishopric one of the three crushing blows 
which drove Newman out of the English 
Church Maurice plunged eagerly into the 
struggle to advocate the German alliance. The 
year after, however, he is vehement in 
defence of Dr. Pusey against his inhibition 
from preaching in the University pulpit ; and 
publishes a letter to Lord Ashley on " Right 
and wrong ways of supporting Protestantism." 
Small wonder that men were perplexed at these 
alternate protests of one whose profoundest 
conviction was of the mischief of organized 
parties in the Church, and the wickedness of all 
persecution. In all such parties he found the 
principle of doing evil that good may come 
recognized, that it is lawful to lie to GOD, that 
no faith is to be kept with those whom they 
account heretics. It is a long, historic tradition. 

Frederick Denis on Maurice 5 1 

The peacemaker also, as in the same historic 
tradition, was repudiated by all. 

The end of the long conflict was near when 
W. G. Ward published in 1 844 his Ideal of a 
Christian Church. Utterly repudiating the 
contempt for the Articles which that work 
everywhere expressed, and Ward s cheerful 
attack upon the whole system which these 
Articles embodied, Maurice nevertheless was 
active in opposition to that persecuting Pro 
testantism which was consummating the final 
catastrophe. He busied himself in the issuing 
of a protest in the name of Liberalism and 
based upon general principles of Christian 
freedom. Two letters "To a Non-resident 
Member of Convocation " represent his con 
tribution to the general turmoil. In these 
letters are to be found the seeds of a con 
troversy destined in later years to become 
notorious, with Maurice as defender instead 
of critic. For here he chooses, to illustrate 
the impossibility of binding present interpreta 
tion to sixteenth century ; conceptions, the words 
of the seventh Article. To the reformers the 
" Mterna Vita " represented unending existence 
beyond the grave ; to Maurice, the knowledge 
of GOD. " It would be an outrage upon my 
conscience," he affirmed, " to express assent or 
consent to any Article which did put c future 
state in the Article for { eternal life. " 

The flood of violence was far beyond the 
control of any voices of reason. Ward, in a 

5 2 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

brilliant defence, in which Maurice s interven 
tion was dragged into the field to testify to the 
insincerity of the attacks upon him, was con 
demned by the voice of Convocation. Only 
the veto of the two Proctors prevented his 
expulsion. A few days after he had married 
and passed over to the Roman Catholic 

Later came the greater loss. Newman, 
finding light at last after the period of 
waiting, left his "father s house" for the 
" far country in a journey from which he 
had shrunk so long. The record of the final 
steps given in the Essay on the Development 
of Christian Doctrine revealed to Maurice how 
great was the divergence between them. " I 
rose up from the volume," he writes, " with a 
feeling of sadness and oppression, as if I were 
in the midst of a country under a visitation 
of locusts." But it was a blow from which, 
as Disraeli could testify a generation after 
wards, the Church of England was still reeling ; 
as if, in Gladstone s words, a great bell sounding 
on a cathedral tower had suddenly ceased tolling. 
It was the breaking of the energies of a decade. 
His followers were scattered and troubled ; 
some passing with him in "the going out of 
45 " ; some retiring altogether from the active 
conflict ; some finding complete shipwreck of 
any spiritual belief in a world so full of irony 
and baffled purposes. 

For many years the influence of the Oxford 

Frederick Denison Maurice 53 

Movement almost ceased to operate. Oxford 
itself was given over to a triumphant Liberal 
ism. The social protest against the tyrannous 
conditions of the time began to replace the 
interest in these theological discussions ; and 
there came to be heard in the stillness the 
echoes of the deep crying of the poor. The 
stage was clear for any company who could 
bring to such a terrific problem of social 
disorder any reading of the vision or message 
of its right interpretation. 

Maurice in private trouble was being 
fashioned for the work to which he was to be 
called. Mrs. Sterling had died in 1843. Sterling 
died in September, 1844. He left behind in 
Maurice s memory a continual reproach for 
what he came to regard as harshness and 
impatience with his first and dearest friend ; 
whose Life he could never afterwards bear to 
read, so full it was of irrevocable things. Then 
after but a brief period of married happiness, 
at the end of a long and painful illness, his wife 
died in 1845. "I feel much more oppressed 
with the sense of sin than of sorrow," was his 
mournful confession. " I cry to be forgiven 
for the eight years in which one of the truest 
and noblest of GOD S children was trusted to 
one who could not help or guide her aright, 
rather than to be comforted in the desolation 
which is appointed to me." 

He took up bravely the burden of an exist 
ence from which the light had gone. He found 

54 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

himself attaining an increasing reputation as a 
theologian, with some particular appeal to the 
more thoughtful men of his generation. He 
gave the "Boyle Lectures" on the Religions of 
the World and the " Warburton Lectures " on 
the Epistle to the Hebrews, in which he 
scathingly criticized Newman s theory of de 
velopment. A Theological School in King s 
College was being established, and he was 
chosen first Theological Professor. Later he 
was appointed chaplain at Lincoln s Inn ; and 
left Guy s Hospital after ten years of patient 
service there ; in which he had learnt in 
familiar experience, the heights and depths of 
human life, and the tragedy which lives behind 
the smiling surface of the world. 

Frederick Denison ^Maurice 55 



HPHE "hungry forties" were an evil time 
in England. The decade formed the 
concluding period of an age during which 
the dim thousands at the basis of society were 
passing through one of the most terrible 
experiences of all their long unhappy history. 
The industrial revolution, and the years of 
depression succeeding the great wars, had 
reduced the peasantry in the villages, and the 
disorganized masses who were creating the 
cities, into a condition of penury and despair. 
It was a hell deeper and wider than any to 
which the working classes of this country had 
before descended. And the last years, when, 
indeed, if the people had only known it, the 
worst of the time was over, were gathering up 
into articulate protest all the passion of the 
poor. " Every bad harvest," is the verdict of 
social history, "brought riots and outrages in 
its train. The midnight sky was often red 
with burning hay-ricks, corn-stacks, and farm 
buildings, set on fire by starving labourers." 
There were outbreaks born of a wide distress 


5 6 Leaders of the Church 1 800 - 1 900 

and misery in all the first years of the 
young Queen s reign. In 1840 Lord John 
Russell could tell the House of Commons that 
the people of the British Isles were in a worse 
condition than the negroes in the West Indies. 
" The state of society in England," wrote 
Dr. Arnold to Carlyle, " was never yet paralleled 
in history." Cobden inflamed the first agitation 
of the Anti-Corn League with story after story 
of the tragedy of rural labourers : women 
pawning their wedding-rings to buy food, 
people living on boiled nettles or decayed 
carcases of dead cattle. The great Emigration 
was flinging numbers beyond the sea, inflamed 
with revolt and despair and bitterness against 
their own land. " In want, in terror, and 
with a sense of the crushing injustice of the 
times, they cursed the land in which they had 
been born." "There was a sullen, passive 
reign of distrust amongst the people," is the 
confession of the memories of these days. 
"The Reform Bill had disappointed them. 
All their trade conflicts had ended in failure. 
Even the resounding attacks against the Corn 
Laws, then beginning to fill the country, 
excited little interest among the working 
classes, and so they gave little response. 
Betrayal and failure had made them sad and 

Commission after Commission had set itself 
to examine the " Condition of England " 
problem, and had come to no satisfactory 

Denison Maurice 57 

conclusion. The only certain conviction among 
the governing classes was of the necessity of 
drastic action in the suppression of revolt and 
riot, and a profound condemnation of all 
the Chartist and Socialist agitations among 
the workers themselves. Lord Melbourne 
denounced in Parliament the criminal character 
of the Trades Unions, and counselled drastic 
measures against them. Dr. Arnold, a Liberal 
of humane and enlightened views, advanced 
to the boundaries of possible invective in the 
ferocity of his language concerning the new 
movement for the " People s Charter." These 
people themselves drifted hither and thither in 
a kind of vague unrest. The new Poor Law 
was a necessity if the whole nation was not to 
sink into a spongy mass of pauperism. But it 
was passed by a Parliament in whose election 
they had no voice ; and it seemed to them 
merely the cruelty of a State indifference to 
their forlorn condition. The " Bastilles," as 
the workhouses were called, were the subject 
of universal popular denunciation. An enor 
mous migration to the towns and beyond the 
sea appeared to give no relief to the pauper 
villages. "The country," as Canon Dixon 
says, "was going to hell apace." The awful 
revelations of the Commission on labour in 
the factories, and the martyrdom of children 
there contentedly tolerated revelations which 
to-day cannot be read unmoved had but 
stimulated the slow, timid beginnings of 

58 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

Factory Legislation. The lust of greed 
here as in San Domingo in the sixteenth 
century, or South Africa in the twentieth had 
proved triumphant over all the weak affirma 
tions of the moral law. Without organization, 
purpose, or plan, the people were gathering 
into lumps and blotches of population, as they 
were swept together by the demands of the 
new mechanical industry. Engels, in his 
Condition of the Wording Class in England in 
1844, could hold up to an astonished Europe 
the vision of the cellar-dwellers of Manchester 
and the intolerable life of the British artisan, 
as a kind of warning lest its peoples should 
come also into this place of torment. Unrest 
and disquietude disquietude born of hunger 
and privation, and a bleak outlook for the 
future tormented the sullen cities. Some 
times it took the form of mere blind and 
stupid outrage, an aimless striking at machinery, 
which they thought was taking the bread from 
their mouths. Sometimes it organized itself 
into riot and open revolt. All the hopes of 
the people gathered round the Charter, which 
came to be a symbol to society of the coming 
Revolution ; in which the scenes of Paris, fifty 
years before, might be repeated in the streets 
of London, before the coming of the day of 
better things. 

The wisest men of the time were baffled by 
a problem to which they could find no solution. 
Carlyle, attending London dinner-parties and 

Frederic^ Denison Maurice 


hearing Sydney Smith "guffawing, other per 
sons prating, jargoning," sees how that " through 
these thin cobwebs Death and Eternity sate 
glaring." " In no time since the beginnings of 
society," is his deliberate verdict, " was the lot 
of these same dumb millions of toilers so 
utterly unbearable as it is even in the days 
passing over us." He depicts England finding 
itself full of wealth and yet dying of inanition ; 
"two millions in workhouses and poor-law 
prisons, or having outdoor relief flung over the 
wall to them " ; the nation, like Midas, having 
demanded gold, and turning into gold whatever 
it touched, being given also the asses ears and 
the asses wisdom ; the whole people profoundly 
unhappy, because they have " forgotten GOD." 
Small wonder that in tiny groups, in the under 
world, of Methodists and obscure preachers, 
men turned to prophecy and the visions of the 
terror of the latter days, for light upon the 
trouble of the time. 

Upon all such sufferings, uncertainties, 
doubts, and agonies came the inspiration of 
the European uprising of 1848. The "song 
of the quick " was heard " in the ears of the 
dead." The long period of European sleep 
and silence suddenly flared into resonant action. 
Lamennais, back "amongst realities once again" 
after the experience of his fortress-prison, was 
called to represent the people in a republican 
assembly. "A great act of justice is being 
done," was his cry ; " cannot you feel the 

60 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

breath of GOD ? " Mazzini, after years of 
obscure poverty in the back streets, " the 
hell of exile," in London, was soon to find 
himself raising the red banner of GOD and 
Humanity upon the walls of Rome. Every 
throne in Europe tottered, and most were 
thrown to the ground. The barricades were 
up in Berlin, in Milan, in Paris. The air 
was filled with the clamour and havoc of 
change. The revelation of the coming of 
terrors seemed at last realized in the ways of 
men ; with the sun becoming black as sack 
cloth of hair, and the moon blood-red, and the 
stars of heaven falling to earth, as a fig-tree 
when she is shaken by a mighty wind. 

The young men whom Maurice gathered 
round him demanded study of the Apocalyptic 
vision as alone adequate to the time, and 
Kingsley was searching the prophet Amos for 
guidance in the stern work to which men 
would be called in the coming "Day of the 
LORD." In Italy the Pope was first a national 
hero, then a fugitive. The Republic was 
proclaimed in Paris. Louis Philippe had fled 
across the sea. In Prussia, in Hungary, in 
Lombardy, in Poland, as if moved by some 
unseen wind of the Spirit, the people had risen 
and were fighting in the streets. To Maurice, 
with his confident faith in the workings of the 
Divine energy in human affairs, the whole 
movement was a visible coming of the Son 
of Man. "If any preacher had tried to impress 

Frederick Denison Maurice 6 1 

you," he cried at the end of this wonderful 
year, "with the belief that some signs and 
wonders were near at hand, if he had tasked his 
imagination or his skill in interpreting the hard 
sayings in Scripture to tell you minutely what 
those signs and wonders would be, are you not 
sure that his anticipations would be poor and 
cold when compared with the things which you 
have heard of and almost seen ? " " Do you 
really think," was his challenge, " that the 
invasion of Palestine by Sennacherib was a 
greater event than the overthrowing of nearly 
all the greatest powers, civil and ecclesiastical, 
in Christendom ? " 

Yet in such upheaval Maurice s sympathies 
were not entirely with the advocates of the 
newer ideals. He repudiated with a passionate 
rejection the principles of popular sovereignty 
and of democracy. The catastrophe, in his 
interpretation, had judged kings, not kingship. 
It was a warning to those who had proved 
unfaithful to the ideal ; not the passing of the 
ideal itself before a stronger. " I do not start," 
he wrote in remonstrance to Mr. Ludlow, 
" from the Radical or popular ground. I begin, 
where I think you both end, in the acknow 
ledgement of the Divine sovereignty. Thence 
I come to the Tory ideal of kings reigning by 
the grace of GOD." He held this truth not 
only as belonging to the time in which it was 
asserted and developed, but as bequeathed by 
that time to all subsequent ages. With the 

62 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

tenacity of the Non-Jurors he clung to a 
position which, logically, would class him as 
one of their descendants. " The sovereignty 
of the people," he proclaimed, " in any sense 
or form, I not only repudiate as at once the 
silliest and most blasphemous of all contra 
dictions, but I look upon it as the same 
contradiction, the same blasphemy in its fullest 
expression, of which the kings have been 

Mankind, or the less adventurous of them, 
still despaired of the Republic. The first 
Revolution had burnt into their souls the vision 
of society falling into fragments through lack 
of an organized, central unity. They could 
find no binding power or cohesion in anything 
but the monarchical principle. To Maurice the 
only alternative to a constitutional monarchy 
appeared to be "an autocracy of sheer brutal 
force, reigning in arrogance and triumph." 

The after-swell of the great European tide 
was washing even the remote shores of 
England. The demand for the Charter had 
been first formulated in 1838. After ten years 
of agitation it seemed possible that the forces 
of revolt might at last break forth into open 
explosion. Men wondered if London would 
exhibit the same scenes of violence as Paris or 
Berlin. The famous loth of April was to 
see the monster petition escorted by a hundred 
thousand determined men from Kennington to 
Westminster ; the evening might see barricades 

Frederick Denison Maurice 63 

and fighting in the streets. Maurice, utterly 
opposed to the appeal to force, had joined the 
side of order, and offered himself with the 
multitude of the middle classes which enrolled 
themselves as special constables. Kingsley had 
hurried to London from his country parish to 
be present at the day of decision, to see if 
anything could be done even at the last moment 
to prevent a collision between the Chartists and 
the troops. Maurice sent him to Mr. Ludlow, 
and on this day first arose the combination of 
that little band of reformers who were to 
become famous in the history of social progress 
under the title of the " Christian Socialists/ 
" The poor fellows mean well however much 
misguided " were Kingsley s first words. It 
would be horrible if there were bloodshed. I 
am going to Kennington to see what man can 
do. Will you go with me ? " 

There was nothing to be done. The demon 
stration in a few hours had passed from tragedy 
to farce. The crowding of London with troops, 
the enrolling of 150,000 special constables to 
guarantee the preservation of property, the lack 
of leadership among the workmen, and their 
own weakness and irresolution, had rendered 
all prospect of violence negligible. The 
numbers who assembled proved ridiculously 
inadequate to the work which they proposed 
to accomplish. Rain fell steadily. The leaders 
fled. The crowd dispersed. The great petition 
crawled ingloriously to Westminster in a four- 

64 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

wheeled cab. The day closed in mockery and 
rejoicing. Kingsley, in Alton Locfy, has given 
his own vision of the tense atmosphere at the 
beginning, and the reaction of ridicule at the 
close. He knew too well the misery and 
hunger ravaging the masses of the poor to find 
any exultation in such an ending. If there were 
little cause for trembling, there was still less 
cause for laughter. He compares in passionate 
protest this laughter to the secret smiling of 
Tennyson s Epicurean gods ; as, in their far 
remote paradise, looking over wasted lands and 
a desolation which is to them but a distant 
vision of change, they find the discord of 
lamentation sounding like faint music far 
away, and all the tragic terror of the time 
" like a tale of little meaning though the words 
are strong." 

In such a spirit with the atmosphere fey, 
enchanted Maurice and the little company 
who had gathered round him in the later 
spring of 1848, were watching with profound 
anxiety the signs of the time. They were 
convinced of the need for action, of the burden 
of action laid upon them. Their first immediate 
step was to placard London with addresses to 
the workmen of England, telling them that 
they had more friends than they knew of " who 
love you because you are their brothers, and 
who fear GOD, and therefore dare not neglect 
you, His children." In plain terms these 
placards informed their readers that the Charter 

Frederick Denison Maurice 65 

would not make them "free from slavery to 
ten-pound bribes, to every spouter who flatters 
self-conceit, to beer and gin." The workmen 
of England, thus addressed on impersonal 
hoardings, were lying crushed and forlorn 
in the failure of their great endeavour, and 
the ridicule which was being outpoured on 
the bogus names in the great petition. Such 
a collapse may perhaps account for a lack 
of resentment at these strange, ill-chosen 
lectures, delivered to them through the quaint 
medium of advertisement in the streets of 
London, by men who had hitherto done 
nothing to guarantee their sincerity and their 

From such unpromising beginnings they 
passed to more continuous effort. On May 6, 
1848, appeared the first number of Politics 
for the People. It consisted of a tiny news 
paper of sixteen pages, published weekly at 
a penny. It appealed definitely to the working 
classes, and to all those in England who 
felt the reality of the grievances from which 
the working classes suffered, and who realized 
the necessity of reform. From the first, 
" physical force Chartism " was repudiated. 
The hope of the new time was to come from 
religion : and the appeal sometimes passionate, 
sometimes bitter was primarily to the Church 
and its ministers to take up the obligation 
of social improvement. " We have used the 
Bible," cried Kingsley in an early number, "as 



6 6 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

if it were a mere special constable s hand 
book, an opium dose for keeping beasts of 
burden patient while they were being over 
loaded, a mere book to keep the poor in 
order." Against such blasphemy he appealed 
to the prophets and the teaching of the New 
Testament, for vindication of "justice from 
GOD to those whom men oppress ; glory to 
GOD from those whom men despise." 

Maurice s contributions were of a less violent 
type. He essayed the work of dialogue " In 
the penny boats," " Liberty, a dialogue between 
a French Propagandist, an English Labourer 
and the Editor " ; and so on. A remarkable 
body of men contributed to this short-lived 
journal. Letters were admitted from Chartists 
and workmen. Kingsley s contributions, written 
under the famous signature of " Parson Lot," 
were the most noteworthy. Kingsley and 
Mr. Ludlow had gone much further than 
Maurice in identifying themselves with the 
Chartist ideals. They attacked with vehe 
mence a social system which tolerated unspeak 
able things. They refused toleration to those 
who found refuge from action in ignorance. 
They demanded that men of good-will should 
choose a side and cut sharp the dividing line 
between the friends of GOD and His enemies. 
"When once fairly let loose upon his prey," 
wrote W. R. Greg of Kingsley, "all the Red 
Indian within him comes to the surface, and 
he wields his tomahawk with an unbaptized 

Frederic^ Denison Maurice 67 

heartiness, slightly heathenish no doubt, but 
withal unspeakably refreshing. * 

" I am a Radical reformer," the "Red Indian" 
was writing, " I am not one of those who 
laugh at your petition. I have no patience 
with those who do. My only quarrel with the 
Charter is that it does not go far enough in 
reform." Obloquy, abuse, the foulest calumny 
gathered round him. His friends remonstrated. 
He held on his way undaunted. " I will not 
be a liar," he writes. " I will speak in season 
and out of season. My path is clear and I will 
follow it. GOD has made the word of the LORD 
like fire within my bones, giving me no peace 
till I have spoken out." 

Mr. Ludlow, fresh from the vision of 1848 in 
Paris, with Socialism as a living faith, and the 
priests behind the barricades, was inspired with 
a similar fighting spirit. Maurice appears as 
charged with the ungrateful task of continually 
holding back these impetuous reformers ; 
counselling caution, softening the asperities of 
denunciation, preaching loving-kindness and 
charity rather than the violence bred of revolt 
and despair. 

One must confess that here his work is 
not entirely effective. He suffered from an 
incomplete apprehension of the nature of the 
world of shadows in which his lot was cast 
for a season. He was living in that world of 
principles which to him formed the only reality. 
The fight of Michael against the great dragon, 

68 Leaders of the Church 1800-190(1 

and the war continually waged by the armies of 
Heaven, were more real to him than the welter 
and chaos of political or sanitary reform in mid- 
century London. He appealed for unity always 
among the better men of all parties, to repudiate 
each and severally the ignobler elements with 
which they were united. The idea that the 
men of high purpose in various historic political 
parties should each abandon organizations which 
include among their adherents men of selfish 
and base ideals, and form a kind of united 
company of the good visibly warring against the 
evil, is an ideal which has haunted the minds of 
many philosophical reformers. But it is not an 
ideal applicable to the actual world of political 
and social change. Nothing is more certain than 
that, were such conditions attained, the good 
would be found as visibly and bitterly fighting 
against the good, as the evil against the evil. 

Maurice would defend Kingsley and Mr. 
Ludlow to the respectable dignitaries who were 
patronizing the movement ; archdeacons and 
academic persons who were shocked at their 
plainness of speech. At the same time he 
would urge them to resist the attractions of the 
strong piquant phrase. He expurgated many 
of their articles, and stopped altogether 
Kingsley s story of The Nuns Pool. He 
was often wearied because of the greatness of 
the way. Sometimes the ineffective interference, 
and " the consciousness of missing my aim 
continually," make him feel that " I must have 

Frederick Denison Mai 

been a madman to embark upon such an enter 
prise." But then he is encouraged by the 
knowledge that " I did not choose it, but was 
brought into it by some purpose greater than I 
know of." 

Seventeen numbers only were issued of 
Politics for the People. The circulation reached 
some two thousand a week ; but there 
seemed no chance of it attaining an economic 
success. Advertisements were impossible, and 
the newspaper was boycotted by most respectable 
newsagents. It died before the end of that 
wonderful summer, while yet the European 
conflagration raged fiercely and the future of 
the nations was all unknown. 

The general spirit of the little group was 
undaunted by such a failure. They remained 
quite heedless of the clamour of the respect 
able amongst the Churches against this 
newfangled Christianity. They were more 
moved by the distrust, not perhaps inexplicable, 
amongst the working-class leaders themselves, 
of this sudden incursion into their midst of a 
Church party. For the long, intolerable years 
the Chartists had received from that Church 
little but abuse or apathy. "The Bishops," 
was Lord Shaftesbury s bitter cry in 1844, 
"are timid, time-serving, and great worshippers 
of wealth and power. I can scarcely remember 
an instance in which a clergyman has been found 
to maintain the cause of the labourers in the 
face of the pew-holders." As they had acted, 

70 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

so were they judged. " I would shed the last 
drop of my lifeblood," was Kingsley s hungry 
cry, " for the social and political emancipation 
of England, as GOD is my witness. And here 
are the very men for whom I would die 
fancying me an aristocrat ! " 

Teast, issued in monthly parts in Frasers 
Magazine, carried on the protest through the 
autumn. All the bewildered vision of the 
"two nations" of England, especially of the 
confusion and despair in the rural districts, still 
burns in its passionate pages. The weekly 
meetings at Maurice s house continued during 
the winter. Impatience for direct action found 
fruit in tiny schemes of social amelioration. A 
Night School was set up, for men first, after 
wards for women and children, in Little Ormond 
Yard, Bloomsbury. The Monday Bible Classes 
drew to Maurice s house a strange mixture in 
creed and politics, to whom Maurice sought 
to interpret from the Book of Genesis the 
meaning of the troubles of the time. 

In the spring of 1849 further efforts were 
undertaken. The great revolutionary move 
ment had collapsed in Europe, and the old order 
had been re-established in fire and blood. The 
Reaction, with all the tragedy of high hopes 
disappointed, was in the hour of its triumph. 
In England and in Ireland so many who had 
hoped for the coming of the day of better 
things were leaving the country in despair of 
improvement. The spirit of the last pages of 

Frederick Denison Maurice 71 

Locke , with the emigrants turning to a new 
world undefiled by the accumulated wrong of 
centuries, was the spirit in which so many were 
departing from the shores of their own land. 

The Christian Socialists refused to abandon 
the vision of the " good time coming." Meet 
ings were arranged with some of the Chartist 
leaders in London. " They seemed to think 
much of a clergyman being willing to hold 
conferences with them in a friendly spirit," 
was Maurice s sad discovery, " though they 
are quite used to meeting Members of Parlia 
ment." Kingsley had broken down in health 
under the strain in the winter, but with partial 
recovery returned again with eagerness to the 
arena, lamenting the delay in the coming of 
the spring and the slowness of all human 
change. He describes his visits to London, 
pilgrimages with Mr. Ludlow to Lincoln s 
Inn Chapel to see the "Master" preaching. 
" Maurice s head looked like some great, awful 
Giorgione portrait in the pulpit." In one of 
the working class meetings the effect was 
more profound. " Last night will never be 
forgotten by many, many men. Maurice was 
I cannot describe him. Chartists told me 
this morning that many were affected even 
to tears. The man was inspired, gigantic. 
He stunned us." 

The meeting had been called to consider 
some practical step to destroy sweating, espe 
cially in the slop-tailoring trade. Revelations 

72 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

concerning this sweating had created one of 
the periodical sluggish movements of the public 
conscience, which from time to time excite 
disquietude and a demand for public action. 
Maurice went to the root-causes of the whole 
random disorganization of modern life, in a 
philosophy whose far-reaching application, had 
they but understood it, would have scared many 
of the patrons of the new reforms. He de 
nounced almost savagely the gospel of free 
competition, and set forth the contrary ideal of 
association as the law of the Christian kingdom. 
" Competition is put forth as the law of the 
universe," he wrote a little later. " That is a 
lie. The time is coming for us to declare that 
it is a lie." "The payment of wages under this 
competitive system has ceased to be a righteous 
mode of expressing the true relation between 
employer and employed." The challenge, clear 
and definite and with no soft words of com 
promise, is flung down to the orthodox economy 
which was the child of the industrial revolution 
in early Victorian England. " We may restore 
the old state of things" cried this social prophet, 
" we may bring in a new one. GOD will decide 
that. His voice has gone forth clearly bidding 
us come forward to fight against the present 
state of things." " It is no old condition we 
are contending with, but an accursed new one, 
the product of a hateful, devilish theory which 
must be fought with to the death." 

The challenge, here deliberate, was im- 

7 rederick Denison Maurice 


mediately accepted. It was sufficiently out 
rageous that a clergyman should term himself 
a Chartist and ally himself with those who 
demanded votes for the lower orders. But 
when such a clergyman passed from political 
to economic questions, assailed the very fabric 
of society, openly advocated Socialism, and 
denounced as " devilish " the comfortable 
creed upon which were based the wealth and 
security of the leisured class, it was evident 
that he could expect little but a long and 
furious warfare against one who stirred up 
the people to unimaginable ends. Socialism 
came to Maurice, as it came a little later in 
Germany, in the form of encouragement 
of association or co-operation among the 
working classes themselves. It was not the 
formation of little secluded Utopias he desired, 
leading the communal life. Nor did he ever 
appeal to the State to come in to organize the 
industrial class. But he thought that, by unit 
ing the workmen themselves into Co-operative 
Producing Associations, he could eliminate the 
profits of dead capital and abrogate the ferocity 
of the competitive struggle. Associations 
developing from tiny beginnings might become 
universal ; and, when universal, would over 
throw that tyranny of capital which was 
supposed at that time, through "the iron 
law of wages," to drive always the remu 
neration of the workers down to the bare 
limits of subsistence. 

74 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

But Co-operation in those days wore a very 
different garb from that which clothes it 
to-day. This mild and beneficent business- 
organization of distribution and production, 
now so sleepy and conservative, patronized 
by Bishops, extolled by all that is respectable 
and secure, appeared sixty years ago as a pro 
gramme of violent and revolutionary change. 
Workmen uniting with workmen, as their 
own masters, repudiating the leadership of the 
intellectual and the rich, were in such unity 
to shake the very fabric of society. Ultimately 
they might succeed in abolishing those profits 
of capital without which an upper and middle 
class could not decently endure. In the eyes 
of such a class it was revolutionary, anti- 
Christian, communistic, cutting at the root 
of the natural relationship of master and 
man, employer and employed. It signified 
a lawlessness and independence at the basis 
of society which could only consummate in 
some enormous collapse and upheaval. The 
orthodox in business and politics and religion 
turned in disgust from these reckless men ; 
whose theology was misty and vague, whose 
political economy was contemptible, who were 
encouraging blasphemy by the proclamation, 
not in the name of a barren atheism, but as 
the demand of the Divine Ruler of the 
universe, that the competitive system must 
be overthrown. 

Through all the gathering storms of opposi- 

FredericJ^ Denison Maurice 75 

tion they continued on their way. From the 
conferences held with the working men during 
that troubled summer at the Cranbourne 
Tavern, came the impulses towards the creation 
of Workmen s Co-operative Associations. 
Maurice s Socialism, here and always, was of a 
strictly limited nature. The State, he held, 
never could be communist, and never ought to 
be communist. " It is by nature and law 
conservative of individual rights, individual 
possessions." But the Church on the other 
hand, he maintained, is communist in principle. 
And in the union of the two he finds a reconcilia 
tion of those divergent principles of collective 
and individual welfare whose disunion has 
troubled the minds of so many social philo 
sophers. "The union of Church and State, 
of bodies existing for opposite ends, each 
necessary to the other, is precisely that which 
should accomplish the fusion of the principles 
of Communism and of property." 

Mr. Ludlow returned from Paris full of 
enthusiasm for the then most promising move 
ment of the ^Associations Ou^rieres. In 
England reform came but slowly, and those 
who cared to listen were still troubled by the 
crying of the poor. Cholera was raging in 
the unspeakable slums of Bermondsey and 
Wapping, and Kingsley found almost intolerable 
the waste and misery of it all. He was impatient 
for that sanitary reform which he believed could 
save so many human lives. " Do not let them 

7 6 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

wait for committee meetings and investigations." 
He pleaded, "While they will be maundering 
about vested interests and such like, the people 
are dying." The "Condition of the People" 
problem, seen with his own eyes, took upon 
itself a deepening aspect of tragedy ; and the 
degradation and horror were torturing his 
sensitive spirit. " If I had not had the Com 
munion at church to-day," he wrote to Mr. 
Ludlow, "to tell me that JESUS does reign, 
I should have blasphemed in my heart, I 
think, and said, the devil is king. " I 
have a wild longing to do something ; what, 
GOD only knows." 

Maurice, the leader to whom all turned in 
their trouble, seemed hesitating, unsatisfying. 
He was profoundly convinced of the futility of 
all leagues and organizations, and refused to 
undertake the formation of the "League of 
Health" which the younger men desired. "The 
dread of societies, clubs, leagues," he confesses, 
" has grown upon me. I have fought with it 
and often wished to overcome it. It has returned 
again and again upon me with evidence that I 
cannot doubt of being a Divine, not a diabolical 
inspiration." The National Society stood before 
him as an awful warning. " The meetings for 
party agitation, the lists of subscriptions intended 
to excite competition and appealing to the 
lowest feelings " filled him with an infi 
nite repugnance. He deemed it destined to 
become " a mere dead log " or to be " inspired 

ing u 

or sc< 

Frederic^ Denison Maurice 77 

with a false demoniacal life by a set of 
Church clubs " ; which would " ten years 
hence have left the Jacobin Club and every 
other at an immeasurable distance behind them 
in the race of wickedness." Analogies drawn 
from the Anti-Corn Law League only produced 
from him a discomforting allusion to the verdict 
of the Bhagcfoad Gita : " Those who worship 
the Devatas obtain speedy answers to their 
prayers. " Against energy expended in such a 
League he advocated a humbler task ; the call 
ing upon the students of Lincoln s Inn to unite 
with the medical men of King s College Hospital, 
the clergy of the district, and some of the Chartist 
leaders, in an active campaign in their crowded 
neighbourhood, against overcrowding, insanita- 
tion, vice, ignorance. " I speak as a clergyman," 
he wrote to Mr. Ludlow, " to you as a lawyer. 
May we not by GOD S blessing help to secure 
both our professions from perishing ? " 

Yet this discouraging advice, given in seem 
ing detachment and calmness, reflected but little 
the passionate feelings beneath the smooth 
surface. Time and again, the fires which burned 
always at his inner being would flare out into 
violent utterance, revealing something of the 
self-restraint which kept them generally con 
trolled. Maurice had written of another s cold 
vision of the Bible as a religious book : " He 
is a man who takes things comfortably ; warm 
ing his hands by the fire, but it will never burn 
or scorch him in the least." Were it otherwise, 

7 8 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

"the fire would be in his heart while he was 
arranging his knick-knacks and watering his 
flowers, and it would come out though it burnt 
up the pretty cottage and garden and Church, 
and all Borrowdale and Derwentwater." And 
with Maurice the fire was in the heart, and 
would "come out" at times, though it burnt 
up all the secure and established conventions, 
through which men constructed cushions and 
barriers to preserve them from the hardness of 
real things. 

Never more flashing and blinding was this 
furnace revealed than amid that commonest and 
mournfullest of all the reformer s experience : 
the divisions, the mistrusts, the recriminations 
of rival advocates of progress. " I could go 
mad too," he flared out in one sudden protest ; 
"and these bewildering charges and counter 
charges, and protests and objections, upset my 
head and heart more even than the evils which 
upon such terms can never be remedied. c Ten 
grains of calomel? c No, bleed, bleed! Fool, 
Mesmerism is the only thing ! c How dare 
you say so ? c There is Hydropathy, there 
is Homoeopathy. c Thank you, doctors, one 
and all. You may draw the curtain. The 
patient is gone. Poor England ! its tongue 
is foul ; its pulse fluttering ; it is dying of 
inanition and repletion ; and we are debating 
and protesting ! " 

The reformers yielded upon the question of 
the Health League and abandoned the project. 

Frederick Denison Maurice 79 

They could not yield in what appeared a more 
serious demand, for the abandonment of the 
promotion of Working Class Associations. 
Maurice wished them to preach the principles of 
Co-operation : they wished to launch Co-opera 
tive Societies ; and they would not be swept 
away from such work into district-visiting and 
the immediate effort at parochial improvement. 
To their surprise and delight, when the testing 
time came, Maurice, instead of retiring, threw 
himself whole-heartedly into the cause. It 
was to commence with a Tailors Association. 
Kingsley s historic pamphlet upon Cheap Clothes 
and Nasty launched the little venture ; with an 
impeachment, in the name of Christian prin 
ciples, of the accepted conditions of industry. 
After eighteen months of comparative silence, 
since the cessation of Politics for the People , it 
was agreed that the practical measure should be 
accompanied by another step forward. Chart 
ism by this time had become a dead thing ; 
Socialism a living menace ; and the defiant 
flag of Christian Socialism was nailed to the 
mast. The name was apparently adopted with 
a desire to offend the maximum number of 
persons on both sides ; "to commit us at once," 
says Maurice, cheerfully, " to the conflict we 
must engage in sooner or later with the unsocial 
Christians and the un-Christian Socialists." 
The little dialogue upon Christian Socialism, 
which Maurice issued as the first of a new series 
of tracts, sums up in its affirmations and its 

8o Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

defiance the spirit of the whole movement. 
There can be discerned all through it the con 
sciousness of a struggle ; and a struggle against 
forces almost overwhelming ; with an appeal 
always to a vindication beyond men s approval. 
It is introduced as a dialogue " between Some 
body, a person of respectability ; and Nobody, 
the author." " I seriously believe," was the 
frank challenge, " that Christianity is the only 
foundation of Socialism, and that a true 
Socialism is the necessary result of a sound 

The author refuses to rejoice with the rejoic 
ings of society at the triumph of the old system 
in Europe. " If the order of revolutions pro 
duced poor fruit," he asserts, " I cannot yet 
perceive that the order of reactions has produced 
any better. If the supporters of Co-operation 
made some strange plunges and some tremen 
dous downfalls, I believe the progress to 
perdition under your competitive system is 
sufficiently steady and rapid to gratify the most 
fervent wishes of those who seek for the 
destruction of order, and above all of those 
who make England a by- word among the 

From the orthodox teaching of the narrow 
creed of a commercial economy, he appealed, as 
Ruskin was to appeal later, to some enduring 
definition of the wealth which made for human 
well-being. With Ruskin also he confronted 
the affirmations of a passing stage of free com- 

Frederic!^ Denison Maurice 8 1 

petition with the organizations and ideals of 
older times. "I hold that there has been a 
sound Christianity in the world," he claimed, 
" and that it has been the power which has kept 
society from the dissolution with which the 
competitive principle has been perpetually 
threatening it." Christianity he finds " un 
sound just in proportion as it has become mine 
or yours, as men have ceased to connect it with 
the whole order of the world and of human 
life, and have made it a scheme or method for 
obtaining selfish prizes which men are to compete 
for, just as for the things of the earth." He 
proclaimed with a kind of exultation the older 
view of the Church, with which indeed was 
incorporated all his life s assertion of a Divine 
order and meaning in human affairs ; of the 
Church as a fellowship constituted by GOD in 
a Divine and human Person, by whom it is 
upheld, by whom it is preserved from the dis 
memberment with which the selfish tendencies 
of our nature are always threatening it." 

He turns with scorn from such visions as 
those of Montalembert in France and the 
" Young England " movement at home ; in 
which salvation is to be effected by the romantic 
and kindly philanthropy of the wealthy, and the 
deferential gratitude of the poor. " He loves 
the poor as poor," Maurice says almost savagely, 
" as means, that is to say, of calling forth and 
exhibiting the virtues, the self-sacrifice, the 
saintship of the rich." " Though he knows 


82 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

that the greatness of the period which he 
admires arose from co-operation, not from 
competition, he must denounce co-operation 
and practically glorify competition, because the 
one talks of emancipating the labourer and the 
other leaves him to the alms of the faithful. He 
must know, if he will reflect, that these alms, 
were they multiplied a thousandfold, could 
not save hundreds or thousands of his fellow- 
countrymen and countrywomen from abject 
misery of body and soul." 

Against such an ideal he elevates the vision 
of the message he thinks he has been sent to 
proclaim. " Our Church must apply herself to 
the task of raising the poor into men. She 
cannot go on treating them merely as poor." 
And in a final outburst he announces that 
despite all the opposition of a world timid, 
interested and hostile, this cause must ulti 
mately triumpth. 

" If you accuse us of being idle, visionary 
dreamers who abhor statistics, we must plainly 
tell you that our object will be to deal with the 
commonplace details of human misery, to 
enquire not how the world may be cut into 
parallelograms, but how you and I can buy our 
coats without sinning against GOD and abetting 
the destruction of our fellow-creatures ; to show 
how our little acts of inconsideration may cause 
far more physical and moral evil than great 
crimes ; to point out a way in which habitual 
acts of deliberation and reflection upon , our 


lemson Maurice 

relations to our brethren may avert or relieve 
wretchedness, which grand charities and mag 
nificent subscription lists leave untouched or 
perhaps aggravate. 

S. How do you propose to prove that you 
are the persons who are the fittest to undertake 
this mission ? 

N. We do not propose to prove it. 

S. How do you know that any one will listen 
to you ? 

N. We do not know it. 

S. Have you enlisted any powerful sup 
porters ? 

N. None at all. 

S. You count upon some help from the 
periodical Press ? 

N. We have no reason to expect the least. 

S. Not even from the religious newspapers ? 

N. From them one and all, utter contempt 
or violent denunciations. 

S. A brilliant prospect certainly ! 

N. The old prospect. If this counsel, or 
this work, be of man, it will come to nought. 
If it be of GOD, slop-sellers, philosophers, 
economists, the whole trading world, the whole 
religious world cannot overthrow it, for they 
will be found fighting against GOD. 

84 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 



T TNDER such auspices, early in the dividing 
year of the century, and with the deter 
mination that men should be stimulated to 
"buy their coats without sinning against GOD," 
the humble Association of Tailors was launched 
in Castle Street, near Oxford Street. It was 
followed by the Association of Needlewomen, 
for the remedying of the worst form of 
sweating among the women workers. Maurice 
exercised all his persuasive arts among his 
friends in London and Cambridge to obtain 
orders for the firm. Other similar associations 
have been launched since ; to which also the 
philanthropic have been invited to give orders. 
Somehow the system, then as now, has failed 
to work. The demand for expansion, however, 
was not to be content with one tiny experiment 
among the slop-tailoring trades. In more am 
bitious scope a parent society, the Society for 
Promoting Working Men s Associations, was 
organized out of the original band of 
Christian Socialists and their friends, including 
some of the working men. The council 

Denison Maurice 

of this Society met weekly at Maurice s 
house to consider plans for propagandism. 
The object of the movement, as set forth 
in Tract V of the tracts on Christian 
Socialism, was definite and ambitious. " It 
is now our business," wrote the promoters, 
" to show by what machinery the objects of 
Christian Socialism can, as we believe, be 
compassed ; how working men can release 
themselves, and can be helped by others to 
release themselves, from the thraldom of 
individual labour under the competitive system ; 
or at least how far they can at present by 
honest fellowship mitigate its evils." 

Maurice, an inspirer and a prophet, was diffi 
cult to those who were eager to push forward 
into practical affairs. His profound, almost 
morbid, distrust of organizations and systems, 
led him to oppose the creation of machinery 
which practical men thought essential to the 
working-out of the ideal. As the machinery 
became elaborated, he would attack it as sub 
stituting mechanical things for the ethical and 
moral forces without which it was useless. He 
feared lest the machinery itself should become 
an object of worship. " He desired," says his 
to Christianize Socialism, not to Chris- 


tian-Socialize the universe." Beyond all things 
he dreaded becoming the head of a party of 
Christian Socialists. This fastidious distrust 
and hatred of party drove him to oppose many 
of the deliberate efforts to place the movement 

86 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

upon a workable business foundation. The 
leaders, bringing forward some seemingly 
innocent plan dealing with committees or 
consolidation, would find themselves suddenly 
confronted with a judgment and condemnation, 
in which the eternal laws of the universe were 
called in to brand as intolerable some entirely 
simple piece of practical adjustment. One 
such attempt designed to form a Central 
Board, uniting together individual Associations 
in various towns, checking them, controlling 
them, advising them. Mr. Ludlow, inviting 
Maurice to join such a company, received 
a shattering reply. In his refusal : " The line 
I have marked out for myself," Maurice 
asserts, "is the right one. Any other would 
involve me in a fatal desertion of the prin 
ciples upon which I have for years striven 
to act, and above all, of that principle of 
fellowship and brotherhood in work which 
I have felt called to assert with greater loud- 
ness of late." He scorns the belief in the 
power of organization to make sets of men 
with an evil moral purpose, good and useful. 
" In His Name," he vehemently protests, 
" and in assertion of His rights I will, with 
GOD S help, continue to declare in your ears 
and in the ears of the half-dozen who are 
awake on Sunday afternoons, that no Privy 
Councils or GEcumenical Councils ever did 
lay, or ever can lay, a foundation for men s 
souls and GOD S Church to rest upon." The 

Frederic^ Denison Maurice 87 

Central Board was promptly abandoned. The 
managers of the several Associations and the 
promoters remained apart ; and the latter 
engaged rather in the work of disseminating the 
ideals and principles of Co-operation than in the 
actual organization of Co-operative Societies. 

The movement developed amid storms of 
obloquy and denunciation. The whole respect 
able and religious Press united in an endeavour 
to crush the men who were stirring up the 
people into discontent, and repudiation of the 
legitimate social order. The quarterlies con 
tributed their heavy artillery. The Tablet for 
the Roman- Catholics, the Eclectic Review of 
the extreme Dissenters, the T)aily News repre 
senting Cobden and the Manchester School, 
joined the Record and other orthodox Church 
papers in the general hue and cry. The 
vindication by the Parliamentary Committee 
upon " Investments for the Savings of the 
Middle and Working Classes," and the strong 
support of John Stuart Mill, exercised no 
mitigating influence. Alton Locke was published 
in the spring of 1850, and concentrated upon 
Kingsley s devoted head all the fury of the 
time. The publisher of Teast refused it, and 
it finally only struggled into print through 
the kind offices of Carlyle. The Record struck 
at it passionately and blindly. 

I have before me a bound copy of the 
Christian Socialist ; a " Journal of Association," 
as the sub-title runs, " conducted by several 

ao UW 

8 8 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

of the promoters of the London Working 
Men s Associations." Yellow with age, sharply 
limited by the necessities of print and paper 
before the repeal of the paper-duties, it 
appears as a journal more eager for the 
preaching of a faith than for the production 
of a newspaper. It represents an interesting, 
if rather pathetic, relic of a time long gone. 
The weekly issues exhibit rather a series of 
spasmodic cries than any intelligible record of 
the movement, or of the world outside ; the 
voice of one crying through the darkness : 
" Will the night soon pass ? " The articles 
which call attention to the patient endurance 
of the poor, are full also of that indignation 
against acquiescence in accepted things, which 
is the heart of any movement towards reform. 

There are letters from working men explain 
ing their desolate condition. There is in 
flammatory poetry such as Kingsley s proclama 
tion of " The Day of the LORD " in the first 
number. There are attempts to justify the 
Bible to the people as the book of redemption 
proclaimed to all ; and attempts to justify 
Socialism and Co-operation to those among 
the wealthy and respectable classes who thought 
that these meant the destruction of the old 
Faith. There are fragments from foreign travel 
descriptive of nature and the world outside, 
curiously intertwined with the record of the 
slow advance of the Working Men s Associa 
tions, which occupies the bulk of the news. 

Fredericf^ Denison Maurice 

8 9 

The most important general articles are 
those which give the weekly record of the 
Government Committee on the Savings of the 
Middle and Working Classes, with the evi 
dence of John Stuart Mill and others as to 
the desirability of securing the legal status of 
the Associations. The general tone is full of 
violence and of bitterness, and of prophecy 
of the evils to come. "The new idea," 
Mr. Ludlow leads off in the first article 
of the first number, " has gone abroad into 
the world that Socialism, the latest-born of 
the forces now at work in modern society, and 
Christianity, the eldest-born of these forces, 
are in their nature not hostile but akin to each 
other ; or rather that the one is but the 
development, the outgrowth, the manifestation 
of the other ; and that the strangest and most 
monstrous forms of Socialism are but Christian 
heresy." They call upon Christianity to come 
out from its present position, cramped in 
between the four walls of its churches or 
chapels, and forbidden to go forth into the 
wide world conquering and to conquer ; " to 
assert GOD S rightful domination over every 
process, and trade, and industry, over every 
act of our common life " ; and " to embody 
in due forms of organization every truth of 
that Faith committed to its charge." They 
see society drifting rudderless on the sea of 
competition. They call for a fight against all 
the armies of mammon. They reveal in 


90 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

all these fiery pages the sense of an actual 
and visible combat against the forces of evil. 
They challenge the affirmations of John 
Stuart Mill with the proclamations of the 
Book of Deuteronomy. They find harvest 
labourers, hired at a penny a day, with their 
wages refused ; and receiving instead a penny 
halfpenny for three weeks labour. They 
confront such courses with the judgment in 
the Epistle of S. James against those who kept 
back the hire of the reapers by fraud. " People 
of England," they ask, " choose between these 
two gospels." 

They comment freely on the ritual riots 
at S. Barnabas , Pimlico. " Since when has 
religious liberty been so little understood in 
England," they write, " that a clergyman must 
run the risk of having his church pulled down 
because he is dressed in white instead of in 
black, sits behind a gilt screen, lights a candle 
in broad daylight, and writes inscriptions so 
that they shall not be read?" And all the 
while " the palace of the slop-sellers in Oxford 
Street remains inviolate " ! 

Their attitude towards politics is revealed 
in the comments upon the ministerial crisis 
of 1851. "The people are sick of party cries 
and party leaders," writes Mr. Ludlow, " sick 
of Parliamentary interference altogether." They 
despise the Whigs. They thoroughly distrust 
the Manchester party as an embodiment of 
competitive selfishness. They find the Peelites 

Fredericf^ Denison Maurice 

a clever coterie with no followers, and they 
will not hear of a return of the Protectionists. 
"The people were disposed to give the new 
men a fair trial, but a bread tax they would 
not submit to. Come what might they would 
not allow the food of England to be taxed for 
the raising of landlords rents and the swelling 
of farmers incomes." 

And throughout all they are conscious of 
the perilous condition of the body politic. 
" I think of the four judgments of Ezekiel," 
runs one leading article, " again I repeat it, 
we have had famine, pestilence, we have 
noisome beasts ; again I ask, does the sword 
alone remain ? " 

Kingsley, in a series of fiery articles, taking 
for text a murder in rural England, used 
the revelations of the trial as material for an 
impeachment of the whole organized system. 
The real accomplices of the murderers, he 
declares, are " the whole enlightened and 
civilized British public." " Sooner or later the 
LORD of Heaven and earth, He who lives and 
sees and bides His time till men fancy He is 
dead or an absentee landlord like themselves, 
He who is supposed by many to have no 
intention of interfering till the end of the 
world, He will require the murdered man s 
blood at your hands." 

" The end of the world ! " he bursts forth, 
in the warning of one who saw clearly 
the hazardous nature of the time, and the 

the \ 

92 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

forces which were surging and boiling just 
beneath the thin crust of society, "The end 
of the world ! Well, gentlemen, and how do 
you know that the end of the world is not 
come, and the day of the LORD thereof at 
hand, and a new world already in its birth 
throes ? That which decayeth and waxeth old, 
the system which has become impotent, effete, 
living on the traditions of its boyhood, con 
fessing its inability either to grow and develop 
or to arise and play the man in the might of 
its long-past youth, that, said the wisest man 
except One who ever trod this earth, is ready 
to vanish away. Ye hypocrites ! ye can discern 
the face of the sky, yet ye cannot discern the 
signs of this time." 

The Experiences of Thomas Bradfoot, School 
master, an uncompleted novel, represents 
Maurice s contribution to the Christian Socialist. 
It is written in a spirit more quiet and tran 
quil than those passionate outbursts of the 
younger reformers. It appeared in fragmentary 
contributions week by week, and the plot is 
not very far advanced before the end. In the 
form of a personal confession it professes to 
give the experience of a country schoolmaster, 
confused by the various issues which were 
fighting themselves out over National Educa 
tion ; as they are fighting themselves out to-day. 
There is the dominance of the Parson and of 
the Squire for evil and for good ; the attack by 
the Nonconformists, in part justified, in part 

IDenison Maurice 

exaggerated ; new Jacobin ideals brought into 
the southern English market town by a French 
officer. The interest of the fragment is not 
so much in the thought as in the style. 
Maurice, in his definite determination after 
simplicity in a story which he desires the 
working man to read, reveals himself here 
as a real master of simple English prose. It 
is an enormous advance on Eustace Comvay, 
and with none of the confusion and involved 
purpose of the theological writings. The 
author whom this little effort most recalls is 
the author of Mark Rutherford s Autobiography ; 
and if a critic were reading it to-day as from an 
unknown hand, he would be exceedingly 
inclined to ascribe it to that writer. In the 
growing love of the hero for his little 
cousin, for example, there is an astonishing 
resemblance to certain scenes in The Deliverance. 
" I began to think that Elinor was worth a 
thousand times as much as that young 
woman, or any other that I had ever looked 
upon. I recollected her little rosy child s 
face, and then how it had altered, and what 
a new expression had come out in it, and 
how strange and sad the smile upon it was 
the last time she spoke to me ; till the vision 
began to meet me when I rose in the morning, 
and amidst the grinning faces of the school 
boys, and in the trees and flowers when I 
went out to breathe of the evening air, and at 
night whether I was awake or asleep." Such 

94 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

sentences as these might have walked straight 
out of the novels of Mr. Hale White. 

The Christian Socialist contains the complete 
record of the founding of these various tiny 
productive Associations in London ; with their 
balance sheets from month to month. It was 
on the smallest scale. In December, 1850, we 
find advanced to the tailors ^378, to the shoe 
makers 251, to the printers 254, to the 
bakers 57. The little capital is made up of 
donations of ^513, and loans of j6i6. There 
are rather forlorn experiences of the inability 
of the workmen to respond to the Co-operative 
gospel, with remonstrances against such a class 
as the working builders in the Co-operative 
Society sweating their unskilled labourers. 
Most of the Societies ended in disaster with 
considerable financial failure. They had com 
menced, as in so many cases, with the least 
organizable class, those who had been working 
in the sweated trades. They had suffered from 
the difficulty which has oppressed so many Co 
operative Productive Societies, of obtaining 
honest and competent directors. The Christian 
Socialist became the Journal of ^Association^ 
carried on an uneasy life for a time, and finally 
also died away. It perished with the flag 
flying defiant still, and no repentance or 
repudiation of the cause which it had made 
its own. " So die, thou child of stormy dawn," 
wrote Kingsley, in one of the most passionate 
of his poems ; as he called on the forces of 

Frederick T)enison Maurice 95 

teeming June and the great influence of the 
rain of GOD to bring the seed encompassed in 
that death to a fairer flower and fruit : 

" Fall warm, fall fast, thou mellow rain ; 
Thou rain of GOD, make fat the land ; 
That roots, which parch in burning sand 
May bud to flower and fruit again. 

To grace, perchance, a fairer morn 
In mightier lands beyond the sea, 
While honour falls to such as we 

From hearts of heroes yet unborn, 

Who in the light of fuller day, 
Of purer science, holier laws, 
Bless us, faint heralds of their cause, 

Dim beacons of their glorious way. 

Failure ? While tide-floods rise and boil 
Round cape and isle, in port and cove, 
Resistless, star-led from above : 

What though our tiny wave recoil ? " 

At the beginning of 1851 Maurice and 
Tom Hughes undertook together a tour in 
Lancashire to spread the gospel of Co-operation. 
Everywhere Associations were being formed, 
each looking for guidance to the little central 
company of promoters. Those who found 
Christianity a thing incredible and who quite 
honestly thought that the emancipation or the 
workers was impossible without the abandon 
ment of this creed, felt alarmed at this 
new revival from such unexpected quarters. 
Mr. Holyoake, in the Reasoner y declared 

96 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

open war from the side opposite to that of 
the religious Press, denouncing Maurice and 
Kingsley for attempting by philanthropic 
methods, to obtain converts amongst the 
working men to a faith which was dead 
and incredible. That charge he repeated at 
intervals in all his subsequent works. No 
course, it may be asserted, could be more 
remote from the whole aims and objects of 
the founders. Maurice, at the time he was 
endeavouring to spread Co-operation, was de 
nouncing the National Society for making " a 
convulsive struggle for schoolrooms by plead 
ing that they were meaning to put down 
Chartism." " What could be a more fatal sign 
of want of faith in education itself," he asks, 
" than this eagerness to draw arguments for it 
from the selfishness of the higher classes ? " 

The Socialism of Maurice, indeed, flowed 
forth from his Christianity. He had drunk 
his politics, as another has asserted, " from the 
breasts of the Gospel." The good news of 
the Fellowship and Kingdom meant for him 
the assertion of a unity to which the laws of 
competition were always opposed ; and the 
announcement that competition was an in 
evitable condition of progress he had denounced 
as a devil s lie. But any vision of persuading 
workmen to become Christians by improving 
their material condition, or any hope that the 
Church could be aggrandized by concern in 
social philanthropy, was a vision and a hope so 

FredericJ^ Denison ^Maurice 97 

repugnant to every word he had ever written 
that the charge left him amazed at its injustice. 
But, while the Secularists were thus battering 
at one gate, the Christians were no less back 
ward at the others. In September Mr. Croker 
opened fresh batteries in the Quarterly Review 
under the title " Revolutionary Literature." 
" Very beggarly Crokerism," was Carlyle s 
comment, " all of copperas and gall, and 
human baseness " ; adding cheerily, " no viler 
mortal calls himself man than old Croker at 
this time." Maurice and Kingsley were 
denounced as " heads of a clique of educated 
and clever but wayward-minded men ; who 
from, as it seems, a morbid craving for notoriety 
or a crazy straining after paradox, have taken up 
the unnatural and unhallowed task of preaching 
in the Press and from the pulpit, not, indeed, 
open, undisguised Jacobinism and Jacquerie, 
but under the name of Christian Socialism, the 
same doctrines in a form not less dangerous for 
being less honest." So, in the accepted methods 
of criticism, the engaging creature spilt his 
poison around and waited for results ; calling 
the special attention of the authorities of the 
Church to the fact that Mr. Maurice, who, " we 
understand, is considered the founder and head 
of the school," and " the avowed author of 
other works, theological as well as political, of 
a still more heterodox character," is " occupy 
ing the chair of Divinity in King s College, 


98 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

It was the year of the Great Exhibition in 
Hyde Park. Crowds of strangers, including 
great companies of working men, were finding 
their way to London. Special efforts were 
made to reach these multitudes, and draw 
them into communion with the religious life 
of the nation. 

One such effort a series of sermons preached 
at S. John s, Fitzroy Square, on the Message of 
the Church to the rich and the poor furnished 
the spark which produced the explosion. They 
were to be given by F. W. Robertson, Kingsley 
and Maurice. The first of these, on the message 
to the wealthy, led of? with doctrine sufficiently 
novel and unexpected in the pulpit of an 
Established Church. "Rarely have we dared 
to demand of the powers that be, justice ; of the 
wealthy men and the titled, duties. We have 
produced folios of slavish flattering upon the 
Divine Right of Power. Shame on us ! We 
have not denounced the wrongs done to weak 
ness. And yet for one text in the Bible which 
requires submission and patience from the poor, 
you will find a hundred which denounce the 
vices of the rich." 

This was strong meat ; next Sunday stronger 
was to follow when Kingsley, in the very 
words of the Revolutionary Hope, proclaimed 
the Christian message of Emancipation : 

" The business for which GOD sends a 
Christian priest in a Christian nation," was the 
defiant assertion, " is to preach and practise 


Frederick Denison Maurice 99 

Liberty, Equality, and Brotherhood, in the 
fullest, deepest, widest meaning of these three 
great words. In so far as he does he is a 
true priest, doing the LORD S work with the 
LORD S blessing upon him. In so far as he 
does not he is no priest at all, but a traitor 
to GOD and man." 

The Incumbent s patience was exhausted, 
and at the conclusion of the sermon he came 
forward to the reading-desk and denounced the 
doctrines therein propounded. The excitement 
in the church was intense. A little girl who 
was with Maurice remembers asking indignantly, 
" Shall we throw our Prayer Books at him ? " 
Maurice refused to preach the concluding 
sermon. The news of the scandal spread 
with rapidity. The Christian Socialists were 
universally condemned. Kingsley was for 
bidden by Bishop Blomfield to preach again 
in London. The inhibition was afterwards 
withdrawn ; but the effect of its obloquy 
remained, and something of the unpopularity 
of the disciple was transferred to the master. 

The authorities were not slow to respond to 
the challenge of the great organ of Conservatism 
and sober opinion. The Council of King s 
College were filled with forebodings at the 
eccentricities and rashness of their Theological 
Professor. Dr. Jelf, the Principal, was moved 
to increasing remonstrance. " I see nothing in 
your writings," he wrote to Maurice, " incon 
sistent per se with your position as a Professor 

i oo Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

of Divinity in this College." But as to 
Kingsley, "I confess that I have rarely met 
with a more reckless and dangerous writer." 
Maurice s name, he pathetically protests, is 
placarded in conjunction with this revolutionary, 
" on large placards in inky characters in every 
street." " It will be said justly," he complains, 
" Mr. Maurice is identified with Mr. Kingsley, 
and Mr. Kingsley is identified with Mr. Holy- 
oake, and Mr. Holyoake is identified with Tom 
Paine." " There are only three links between 
King s College and the author of the Rights of 
Man" \ "Unless you are prepared to take 
steps to vindicate your character," he concluded, 
" the best advice your most sincere friend could 
give you would be to resign your office without 

Maurice replied softly to such amazing 
arguments. Beneath the gentleness, however, 
was a strength unshaken and resolved. " I 
cannot resign my office," he asserted, "while 
such insinuations are current respecting me." 
Dr. Jelf continued to wring his hands over 
the broken crockery. A Clerical Committee 
of Enquiry was appointed by the Council to 
consider " how to allay the just apprehensions 
of the Council." " I can do nothing what 
ever to allay them," was Maurice s blunt 
reply. " If I gave up the working Associa 
tions, which I believe would be a great sin, 
I should feel myself obliged to begin some 
similar undertaking the next day." " I shall 

Frederick Denison Maurice 


not disclaim any friend, or consent to give up 
the name Christian Socialism/ or pledge 
myself to avoid any acts in future which 
have given offence in time past." 

The Clerical Committee behaved after their 
kind. They praised Maurice s work at the 
College. They commended Christian Socialism 
because " the scheme which has been set forth 
under that designation a designation, in their 
opinion, not happily chosen is believed by 
those who have devised it to be the most 
effectual antidote to Socialism commonly so 
called." And they expressed their regret at 
finding Maurice s name mixed up with pub 
lications on the same subject which they 
considered to be " of very questionable ten 
dency." Maurice returned a humble and 
grateful reply, and for the moment the 
incident was closed. The Council expressed 
their relief from " much anxiety " by the 
assurance of the Committee that, "allowance 
being made for occasional obscurity or want 
of caution in certain modes of expression, there 
appears to them in Professor Maurice s own 
writings on the subject of Christian Socialism, 
nothing which does not admit of a favourable 
construction." " But they feel warranted 
in entertaining a confident hope that, by 
increased caution for the future on his part, 
any further measures of theirs will be rendered 

The impotence, the timidity, and something 

IO2 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

of the insolence of an Established Church is in 
these suave and wounding phrases. The Jelfs 
and Harrisons and Inglises, the Marquis of 
Bristol and the Earl of Harrowby, thus let off 
with a caution a great Christian teacher and 
social reformer ; whose crime was that of 
having loved the Church beyond all worldly 
things. " He stirreth up the people " now, 
as in all the past, was the head and front 
of an offence which demanded apology and 
forgiveness. There is here the same heavy 
complacency, the same dullness, the same 
blindness to the signs of the time, which a 
few years before had broken Newman s spirit, 
and driven him, in despair of any improve 
ment, into open revolt and departure. And 
the stern warnings of his farewell stand 
as judgment and condemnation of the his 
tory of three centuries : " Thine own off 
spring . . . who love thee and would fain 
toil for thee, thou dost gaze upon with fear 
as though a portent, or dost loathe as an 
offence." "Thou makest them to stand all 
the day idle as the very condition of serving 
thee ; or thou biddest them begone where 
they will be more welcome ; or thou sellest 
them for nought to the stranger that passeth 
by. And what will ye do in the end thereof?" 
The inexorable progress of things outside 
this hothouse atmosphere, was to drive these 
defenders of the Faith and all the contented 
society of which they were representatives, into 

7 redericJ^ Denison Maurice 103 

the unwelcome facing of realities. Distress 
was but little mitigated. The great engineering 
and iron-trade strike in the winter of 1852 
shook the foundations of England s industrial 
order. Many of those who believed in the 
Workmen s Associations urged the seizing of 
this opportunity for an attempt to organize the 
industry, or a portion of it, on the new co 
operative basis. Others, less sanguine of 
immediate change, wished to devote their 
energies to the bringing about of a reconcilia 
tion between masters and men. Maurice was 
amongst the latter. He was reproached for 
urging the strikers to unconditional surrender. 
" I will not ask the men to starve," was his 
reply, " unless I can starve with them." In 
similar design he refused to discuss at confer 
ences the relations which should exist between 
Capital and Labour. His work was to go 
deeper, to probe to the actual foundations of 
society, to find human relations beneath and 
beyond all relations of property. " To set trade 
and commerce right," was his formula, " we 
must find some ground, not for them, but for 
those who are concerned in them, for men to 
stand upon." 

A great step forward marked this year in the 
passage of the Bill legalizing Associations under 
the title of "The Industrial and Provident 
Partnership Bill." Maurice s distrust of De 
mocracy remained. Lord Goderich, afterwards 
ist Marquis of Ripon, had prepared one of the 

104 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

tracts for Christian Socialists on The Duty of the 
Age. He proclaimed Democracy as the great 
factor of the time ; and asserted that the duty 
of all Christian men was to recognize this 
factor, and to attempt to reconcile it with the 
government of CHRIST. He announced him 
self as a Democrat ; and urged the working 
men to strive for universal suffrage, and to 
prepare themselves for its responsibilities and 

All this to Maurice was of the nature of 
heresy. The tracts had been printed and were 
ready for issue, but Maurice commanded their 
immediate suppression. Every man of the 
little company was against him, but they all 
yielded to his impetuous demand. " Monarchy 
with me is a starting-point," was his explana 
tion, " and I look upon Socialism as historically 
developing out of it, not absorbing it into itself." 
" Reconstitute society upon the democratic 
basis," he affirmed, " treat the sovereign and 
the aristocrat as not intended to rule and guide 
the land, as only holding their commissions 
from us, and I anticipate nothing but a most 
accursed sacerdotal rule or a military despotism ; 
with the great body of the population in either 
case morally, politically, physically serfs, more 
than they are at present or ever have been." 

Maurice lived in pre-revolutionary days. 
His thought was static, not dynamic. It was 
the thought of a time before obscure discoveries 
in the life of earthworms and orchids had 

changed the whole human outlook upon the 
universe. GOD to him was the foundation and 
sustainer of all things, the source from which 
all human life and human society were derived. 
But GOD appeared less as the underlying 
Energy, one of whose attributes is change, 
than as the unchanging presence of One who, 
watching over Israel and all the nations, 
slumbers not nor sleeps. Maurice refused to 
entertain the conception of a society passing 
through evolution into new states of being, in 
which the very affirmations of the older time 
became meaningless and outworn. " Society is 
not to be made anew by arrangements of 
ours " was his protest against the onslaughts 
of Democracy, " but is to be regenerated by 
finding the law and crown of its order and 
harmony, the only secret of its existence, in 
GOD." Why such order and harmony should 
be identified with a Sovereign and Aris 
tocracy was never quite clear to his more 
advanced disciples. To these the old order 
was vanishing under the influence of a Divine 
inspiration which was consuming all the past, 
and declaring with a voice which none could 
challenge, Ecce ncfra facio omnia. 

But the men who had seen the collapse of 
1848, and were haunted by the memories of 
1794, could not dream of any abiding system 
except through the ancient organization. No 
stable republic had survived in Europe. The 
old kings had returned. Order reigned at 

106 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

Warsaw and elsewhere. Maurice thought the 
obligation laid upon him was that of proclaim 
ing society and humanity to be Divine realities 
as they stand, not as they may become. To-day 
Becoming, rather than Being, is interpreted as 
the note of the Divine ; and the world-order 
is read as a process ; passing towards a one 
far-off Divine event to which the whole creation 
moves. The energy of Almighty power thus 
appears most conspicuous in operation just in 
that hurrying of the old into a new which is 
the perfect flower and fruit of all the past s 

Meantime, in their own little effort, the 
company collected together for the advance 
ment of these productive Associations found 
sufficient difficulty in practical affairs. Many 
of the Associations themselves declined to 
march. The advertisements of the Christian 
Socialist were refused by most respectable 
newspapers, and respectable booksellers de 
clined to keep copies of it for sale. Maurice, 
still in part detached, but held in reverence 
by all, found himself continually in request, 
now to allay dissension, now to cheer the faint 
hearted. Like some great pillar in the flood, 
he stood steadfast and unmoved, confident 
in the truth of his cause, and in its ultimate 

His methods were frankly autocratic. When 
differences arose between Vansittart Neale and 
Hughes on the one hand, and Mr. Ludlow on 

mderick 1)enison Maurice 10 

the other, he tore up the letter of the latter, 
and called upon him frankly to say that he 
did wrong. " I earnestly implore you to work 
with me," he pleaded, "that the dividing, 
warring, godless tendencies in each of our 
hearts, which are keeping us apart and 
making association impossible, may be kept 
down and extirpated. We cannot be Chris 
tian Socialists upon any other terms/ 

"For GOD S sake come down and see me," 
Kingsley was pleading, " if only for a day. I 
have more doubts, perplexities, hopes, and fears 
to pour out to you than I could utter in a 
week. And to the rest of our friends I cannot 
open. You comprehend me. You are bigger 
than I." 

Heedless of the hubbub around him, with 
his eyes set towards far conquests, Maurice 
pressed forward in the work he had set 
himself to do. With the legal recognition of 
the Associations the worst was over. Hence 
forth the great storm fell into quietness, and 
presently died away. The distributive Societies 
came to flourish exceedingly ; the productive 
Societies, more directly favoured by the pro 
moters, had a more chequered history. With 
the coming of better times and the smoothing 
of the raw edges of discontent, the acute 
social crisis was passed. England in the fifties 
was entering upon its greatest period of com 
mercial expansion, and an ever-growing com 
merce and an ever -widening Empire were 

io8 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

providing an opening for those pent-up energies 
which a decade before had seemed destined to 
turn towards revolution. Gradually the vessel 
righted itself and floated once more buoyantly 
in calm seas. It had been a near escape from 
shipwreck ; how near no one in the future 
will ever be able clearly to estimate. 

With this relief of the pressure the move 
ment of the little band of Christian Socialists 
expanded and loosened. Some, like Hughes 
and Vansittart Neale, threw themselves into 
the practical direction of the new Co-opera 
tive Movement. Kingsley concentrated his 
attention more and more upon sanitary reform, 
and the direct methods of bringing the new 
scientific discoveries into the service of social 
welfare. Maurice passed through troubled 
waters of controversy in his own particular 
work as a theologian and philosopher. Prophet 
always rather than practical reformer, his concern 
was first with the things of the spirit ; especially 
with that testing of the ancient creed and faith 
which was being provided by all the ferment of 
the new knowledge. Henceforth his work was 
to be, in the main, that of protest ; proclaiming 
always in a society becoming more and more 
comfortable and indifferent, and to a Church 
blind to the changes of the time, the great 
elemental truths upon which the universe 
endures : that GOD is the foundation of all 
social order, that a real Kingdom exists with 
a King who proclaimed its coming and estab- 

Frederick Denison Maurice 109 

lished its laws upon this world so many years 
ago ; that this order is steadily advancing 
towards a triumph in which the meaning of 
the whole will be revealed in the light of 
the end. 

What to-day is the judgment of this 
"Christian Socialist Movement," as declared 
by the verdict of history ? It bulks larger in 
the vision of posterity than amongst the men of 
its own time. The later distinction of some of 
its first founders, and the large changes which 
have followed from these small beginnings, 
have given it a reputation which at the 
moment it had no means of justifying. It 
was on the tiniest scale : A few thousand 
tracts sold, a couple of unsuccessful weekly 
journals, a few hundreds of pounds subscribed ; 
just a little eddy in the midst of the great 
turmoil of London and of England at the 
dividing time of the century. Its notoriety 
was largely created by its enemies. The 
religious Press, the journals of the wealthier 
classes, could never forgive theological pro-, 
fessors and country clergymen for plunging 
into the world of affairs, designing themselves 
u Socialists " and consorting with " infidels." 
Abuse rained down upon them. The violence 
of the condemnation of their principles and 
their actions may be accepted as a measure of 
the changes which have flowed from these 
remote beginnings. Their " Christian Socialism," 

no Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

examined to-day critically as a constructive 
system, and removed from the setting of 
emotional indignation and pity which gave it 
distinction, seems to be but a mild method 
of reform. Except for its utility in exciting 
exasperation among the enemy, the term 
" Socialism " might have been dropped from 
its propaganda ; for few of its members under 
stood what Socialism meant, and of these still 
fewer accepted it. The leaders, Maurice and 
Kingsley, were aristocratic to the backbone. 
Maurice accepted kingship as fundamental, 
repudiated republicanism, and thought that the 
rule of democracy was the rule of the devil. 
Kingsley remained to the end convinced that 
society should be organized in classes, with the 
country gentleman and the University graduate 
recognizing the responsibilities of their position 
and leading the lower orders along the ways of 
peace and prosperity. So from the beginning 
the " Christian Socialists " repudiated everything 
in the nature of " Communism," and demanded 
little from the State ; being on the whole more 
convinced of its tyrannies than its beneficence. 
They shared also much of the timidity of 
their time concerning intercourse with the 
atheist and the unbeliever. Maurice hastened 
to repudiate the suggestion that Kingsley had 
ever contributed to "infidel newspapers." And 
in all their letters, the friendly attitude of many 
social reformers to the Straussian propaganda 
and the efforts of free thought is contemplated 


Frederic^ Ttcnison Maurice 1 1 1 

with horror and dismay. We are here far 
from the time when ecclesiastical dignitaries 
compete with each other for the privilege of 
contributing to the pages of the Clarion and 
similar anti-theistic publications, and vie with 
each other in exhibiting their charity by attend 
ing at banquets in honour of distinguished 
opponents of Christianity. 

The ruins of a world occupy the intervening 
age. Only in examination of the stiff, queer 
ideals of the early Victorian period can we 
realize the immensity of the transformation 
which has created our own time. These men 
saw certain specific evils to which most of 
their class were blind ; the degradation of 
that crowded life which festered unheeded at 
the basis of society ; the ineffectiveness of the 
recognized clerical remedies more churches, 
more schools, authority, obedience. They 
saw the poor perishing, and no man laying 
it to heart ; society rocking to its foundations. 
They declared themselves on the side of that 
" hunger and cold " which could appeal for 
vindication to no human avenger. " What is 
the use," cried Kingsley, " of talking to a 
hungry pauper about Heaven ? * Sir, as my 
clerk said to me yesterday, < there is a weight 
upon their hearts, and they care for no hope 
and no change, for they know they can be no 
worse off than they are/ And so they have 
no spirit to arise and go to their FATHER. * 

They were as hot and eager as a Carlyle or a 

1 1 2 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

Ruskin in denouncing a society that " thus 
could build." They set themselves to break 
through the heavy complacency which weighed 
like an oppression in high quarters of Church 
and State, and stifled the effort of reform. 
They found the Church but hardly waking 
from its long sleep of centuries, with the 
movement which had made the awakening still 
unrelated to the life of the poor. The Estab 
lished religion, as a great critic has said, for so 
many generations, had been " simply a part of 
the ruling class, told off to perform Divine 
services, to maintain order and respectability in 
decent society." 

From this moment, however, there were 
never lacking those inspired by some far 
different ideal. Within that Church s boun 
daries, from this little company as pioneers, 
there flowed down henceforth a continual 
tradition of social effort and concern. It 
came to mingle and unite with the revival in 
the Oxford Movement of the conception of 
the Church as an organism, with the renewed 
conceptions of discipline and sacrifice which 
had seemed for so long to be but idle dreams. 
It influenced with its enthusiasm the accepted 
courses of a Liberal theology. It even 
disturbed the old complacent outlook of 
the Evangelical section, with its comfort and 
security in a feudal tradition. It is still 
advancing in a clear, confident stream, and is 
destined to exercise no despicable influence in 

Frederick Denison Maurice 1 1 3 

the social reconstruction of the coming days. 
The ancient formal machinery, in its dustiness 
and decay, has been charged with a spirit 
more human, more compelling and alive ; 
urging always a Christian responsibility to the 
dim, troubled populations of the poor, and the 
failure of any schemes of social philanthropy to 
effect anything like an establishment of social 
justice. We live in the midst of that current, 
and cannot adequately judge the extent of 
its working. It has to contend against the 
accumulated rubbish of centuries, in a society 
still in structure feudal. The overturn of the 
Revolution has brought here no acceptance of 
social equality ; and the barriers of prejudice 
are more stolid in class tradition than in any 
society of the civilized world. 

At times all the attempts to redeem the 
Church of the Establishment, essentially as it 
seems, the preserve of a wealthy and leisured 
class, recruited when it draws recruits 
almost exclusively from those prosperous 
persons who put on an Anglican belief with 
an increasing social prestige, seem vain and 
hopeless. "All the Churches are against me," 
was Lord Shaftesbury s bitter complaint in his 
effort for the redemption of child-life sixty 
years ago. And still in any similar large and 
striking advance against present discontents, 
it is for the most part outside the Churches 
that men must turn for the impulse to press 
forward towards an untried future. We have 

114 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

not yet learnt to cut the world into parallelo 
grams. It is doubtful if we have even 
succeeded in " buying our coats " without 
"visibly sinning against GOD." The squalor 
and hunger and starved empty energies of the 
Abyss still confront with an unanswered chal 
lenge the affirmation of a Common Fellowship. 
And the cry of baffled purposes rises with the 
old complaint, " Neither hast Thou saved Thy 
people at all." But in the heart of the City s 
squalor, and scattered over the forlorn country 
side, little knots and centres of revolt are to 
be found, where proclamation is made, in the 
name of a King, of a universal justice which 
will one day come to pass, and a fairer future 
awaiting the bewildered family of mankind. 
And all of these will acknowledge their 
gratitude to the pioneers ; to this little com 
pany which sixty years ago, to the scandal 
of their contemporaries, elevated the banner 
of Liberty, Equality, and Brotherhood, as 
the ensign of the Armies of the LORD. 

Frederick Denison Maurice 



ICING S College had shown impatience 
with the social eccentricities of its 
Theological Professor. The breach was closed, 
but it left its mark. The Council had looked 
for some increased caution in the future on his 
part, which should render any further measures 
on their part unnecessary. Here evidently, to 
those who knew Maurice his fearlessness, his 
utter indifference to worldly prospects, his 
determination to speak out was a condition 
of unstable equilibrium. In a very short time 
trouble was once more impending, which could 
only have one end. 

The disquietude of the time was always 
before him. He desired especially to help the 
young men facing a world of thought and 
speculation more disturbed than at any period 
since the upheaval of the Reformation. The 
great influx of the new knowledge had broken 
down the security of the older beliefs. Many 
who wished to affirm the ancient historic Creed 
turned in despair from the popular interpreta 
tion of doctrines which seemed incredible. 

tlUll V 

1 1 6 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

Maurice was being continually consulted by 
those to whom the question was one of life or 
death. Amongst all the branches of organized 
religion in England he always had an especially 
friendly feeling towards the Unitarians. He 
had left them deliberately ; but he appreciated 
from the personal experience of his childhood 
their high level of intelligence and social 
interest. To these he now addressed his 
new apologia for the Christian Faith, the 
Theological Assays. " My mind has been more 
filled with the Essays," he wrote, " by day and 
sometimes by night, than has been quite good 
for me. They are in fact my letters which 
express the deepest thoughts that are in me, 
and have been in me working for a long 
time." He felt that the publication would 
mark a great crisis in his life. " But I believe 
I was to write this book," he declared, " and 
could not honestly have put it off. There is 
more solemnity to me about it than about 
anything else I have done." 

The Theological Essays form the clearest 
and most connected summary of Maurice s 
theological position. " I have maintained," he 
states in the dedication to Alfred Tennyson, 
u that a theology which does not correspond to 
the deepest thoughts and feelings of human 
beings cannot be a true theology." The 
central thought of it all, as of all Maurice s 
pleading for half a century, is the appeal 
from man to GOD. The nature of GOD, and 

Frederick Denison Maurice 1 1 7 

not the emotions or sentiments of man con 
cerning Him, was the sure foundation of 
religion. The Evangelical Revival, in the dead 
cinders of whose once great fires he was then 
residing, " made the sinful man, and not the 
GOD of all grace, the foundation of Christian 
theology." The Oxford Movement failed, as 
he thought, to bring back the life of the Creed ; 
to say, " See how all begins from a FATHER, 
goes on to the SON, finds its completeness in 
the HOLY SPIRIT." He was writing for his 
age in face of the wants of his special time. 
He had heard the demand from the heart of 
material success and outward comfort, for 
some conception of life in which material and 
comfortable things would cease to trouble or 
allure. Everywhere he thought he could dis 
cover around him that great longing for the 
understanding and apprehension of the Eternal 
beneath and behind the shows of time, without 
which man s life ceases to take upon itself any 
intelligible meaning, and presently ends in 
nothing but a huge weariness. "The cry 
which I hear most loudly about me," he 
asserted, "which rings most clearly within 
me, is this : Has this age any connexion 
with the permanent and the Eternal ? Is 
there any link between our present, our 
past, and our future ; any One who unites 
the past, the present, and the future in 
Himself? Is there an Eternal GOD ? Has 
He made Himself known to us ? Has He 

n8 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

given us a right to trust Him now and for 

It is a scheme of a theology, though of 
theology charged with white-hot emotion and 
illuminated with lightning flashes of prophecy. 
It passes from the beginning to the end ; from 
the origin of man s life to its consummation, 
both in GOD. It presents a plan as vivid and 
complete as those schemes of human purpose 
and destiny which were carved on the porticoes 
of old Gothic cathedrals, with the panorama 
of the universe unfolded from the fire of its 
creation to the fire of its close. Charity, as 
in the theology of the Greek Fathers, is the 
ground and centre of existence ; and GOD, as 
the Infinite Charity, is the starting-point of 
all. "Take away GOD," is the affirmation, 
" and you take away everything. Without 
this, Bible and Church alike are good for 

Against this Infinite Charity there shadows 
the vision of sin sin as an experience, dis 
turbing, haunting, tearing to pieces the fabric 
of human well-being and the unity of the 
individual soul. It leads the observer in a close 
circle, narrow and dismal, without explanation 
and without escape ; until he can rise to the 
confession, not merely " I have sinned against 
society " or " against my own true nature," 
but " giving the words their true and natural 
meaning, { I have sinned against Thee/ This 
consciousness, apprehended in dim, fantastic 



Frederic^ Denison Maurice 119 

fashion by all the generations of humanity, 
has excited those distortions of sacrifice, asceti 
cism, and rites of expiation, which have tortured 
mankind since the dawn of history. " As long 
as men are dwelling in twilight, all ghosts of 
the past, all phantoms of the future, walk by 
them." But the preaching ordained for the 
Kingdom of Heaven, " is it not, as always, the 
great instrument of levelling hills and exalting 
valleys ? " 

Evil, for Maurice, is the work of evil spirit, 
the power of darkness against which are 
fighting in continual warfare all the armies of 
heaven. Yet with this universal consciousness 
of bondage he discovers also an universal 
longing for a Deliverer : " some one whom 
I did not create, some one who is not subject 
to my accidents and changes, some one in 
whom I may rest for life and death." The 
earnest expectation of the creature had been 
desirous through unremembered time for the 
manifestation of a Redeemer. Maurice finds 
great ideas floating in the vast ocean of tradi 
tions which the old world exhibits to him ; 
vague conceptions of an absolute GOD, of a 
SON of GOD who shall come at last to deliver 
mankind from their captivity. "We ask," he 
claims, " not for a system, but a revelation," a 
revelation "which shall show us what they are, 
why we have had these hints and intimations 
of them, what the eternal substances are which 
correspond to them." This revelation he finds 

I2O Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

at last in the Person of JESUS CHRIST Verbum 
caro factum est " the CHRIST whose Name 
I was taught to proclaim in my childhood, the 
source of the good acts of every man, the Light 
which lighteth every man that cometh into the 
world." The hearts of the people demanded 
incarnations. " We accept the fact of the 
Incarnation because we feel that it is impossible 
to know the Absolute and Invisible GOD as 
man needs to know Him and craves to know 
Him, without an Incarnation." " We receive 
the fact of an Incarnation, not perceiving how 
we can recognize a SON of GOD and Son of 
Man, such as man needs and craves for, unless 
He were in all points tempted like as we are." 
" We receive the fact of an Incarnation because 
we ask of GOD a redemption, not for a few 
persons, from certain evil tendencies, but for 
humanity, from all the plagues by which it is 

Maurice sees the Atonement in the light 
of this Incarnation ; not with the popular 
theology apprehending the Incarnation from 
the experience of an Atonement. In his attack 
upon the popular notions of Sacrifice he is at 
the heart of his divergence from the Protestant 
theology of his time. Against the accepted 
orthodox position he breaks out in fiercest 
protest. He denounces a scheme of things 
which makes a Divine justice different from a 
human justice, and interprets punishment as 
a Divine satisfaction, and declares that " an 

Frederick Ttenison Maurice 12 1 

innocent person can save the guilty from the 
consequences of his guilt by taking these upon 
himself." "Debates are going on in every 
corner of the land," he cries, " suggested by 
these difficulties. What misery, what aliena 
tion of hearts arises from them, no one can 
tell." He protests against any explanation of 
a CHRIST changing the Will of GOD, which He 
took flesh and died to fulfil. The Scripture 
says, " The Lamb of GOD taketh away the 
sin of the world." Have we a right to call 
ourselves Scriptural or orthodox if we change 
the word and put "penalty of sin " for " sin " ? 
From the Cross and its mystery he passes to 
the vision of immortal life. " The last enemy 
which shall be destroyed," Strauss had said, 
" is the belief of man in his own immortality." 
Maurice accepts the challenge. " No experi 
ments for the purpose, no theory of the 
universe, no new arrangements, no increase in 
material comfort," he proclaims, " has succeeded 
in destroying this belief." " As long as every 
thing about him preaches of permanence and 
restoration, as well as of fragility and decay, as 
long as he is obliged to speak of succession and 
continuance and order in the universe and in 
the societies of men, as long as he feels that he 
can investigate the one, and that he is a living 
portion of the other, so long the sense of 
immortality will be with him." Death is the 
enemy. There is a deep conviction in men s 
minds that death is " utterly monstrous, 


122 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

anomalous ; something to which they cannot 
and should not submit." Generations of 
moralists have done nothing whatever to 
enforce the experience of 6,000 years. " They 
go on denouncing the folly of men for thinking 
that death is not a necessity, for not yielding to 
the necessity. The heart of man does not heed 
discourses ; their own hearts do not heed 

From this "last enemy" he comes back to 
the vision unfolded in The Kingdom of Christ ; 
of a Church built upon a sure foundation, 
alien from the courses of the world, the 
source and inspiration of all human fellowship. 
Here also is a reality, with power working 
in the ways of men ; working none the less 
though all men denounced it or denied it ; 
destined to an ultimate victory. " If I 
thought," is Maurice s passionate affirmation, 
" that the world which is to arise out of the 
wreck of that in which we are living, were one 
of which some other than JESUS CHRIST, the 
SON of GOD, was to be the King, I should have 
no more fervent wish, supposing I could then 
form a wish, I could conceive no better prayer, 
supposing there was then one to whom I could 
offer a prayer, than that I and my fellow-men 
and the whole universe might perish at once 
and for ever." 

Baptism and the Eucharist are witnesses, 
not creators, of that eternal order. " For 
eighteen centuries Christendom has kept this 

Frederick Denison Maurice 123 

Feast. There has been no other like it in 
the world." He will acknowledge no visible 
Church, however tremendous and universal its 
claims, as adequate by itself to represent this 
Divine order. All visible Churches are but 
broken lights of a reality behind the illusions 
of time and change. The world contains the 
elements of which the Church is composed. In 
the Church these elements are transformed by 
a uniting, reconciling power. The Church is, 
therefore, " human society in its normal state." 
The world is that same society, irregular and 
abnormal. The world is the Church without 
GOD. "The Church is the world restored to 
its relation with GOD, taken back by Him into 
the state for which He created it." 

Back he comes at the end to the Infinite 
Charity, which was the beginning ; " not to be 
found with its root in this earth, or in the heart 
of any man who dwells on this earth." Its 
deepest mystery is expressed in the conception 
of the Eternal Communion of the Blessed 
Trinity. Here is the origin and guarantee of 
all fellowship ; " showing how in fact, and not 
merely in imagination, the Charity of GOD may 
find its reflex and expression in the charity of 
man, and the charity of man, its substance as 
well as its fruition, in the Charity of GOD." 
And from this comes the fundamental mystery 
which is the very substance of Maurice s pro 
clamation : the origin of Eternal Life in the 
knowledge of GOD. "The knowledge does 

124 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

not procure the life, the knowledge constitutes 
the life." 

Here, as always, he will cling to the historic 
distinction between temporal and eternal things ; 
not, as in popular misconceptions, two time- 
states sharply divided by the boundary of 
death, but two different! conditions of being 
apprehended by a creature who is a child of 
two worlds ; the things which are seen, tem 
poral ; the things which are unseen, eternal. The 
spiritual universe is neither subject to temporal 
conditions, nor obedient to the law of temporal 
decay. " A child knows more of eternity than 
of time. The succession of years confounds it. 
It mixes the dates which it has been instructed 
in most strangely. But its intuition of some 
thing which is beyond all dates makes you 
marvel." " If I spoke of defining eternal life," 
says Maurice, " I should feel, and I think all 
would feel, that I was using an improper word. 
For how can we define that which has no 
definite limits of time ? But instead of picturing 
to ourselves some future place, calling that 
eternal life, and determining the worth of it by 
a number of years or centuries or millenniums, 
we are bound to say once for all, c This is the 
eternal life, that which CHRIST has brought 
with Him, that which we have in Him the 
knowledge of GOD. In such a life " we can 
have fellowship with those who are nigh and 
those who are far off; with men of every habit, 
colour, opinion ; with those whom the veil of 


Frederick Denison Maurice 125 

flesh divides from us ; with Him who is the 
perfect Charity, with the FATHER and the SON, 
who dwelleth in the Unity of One Blessed and 
Eternal Spirit." 

In the concluding essay he definitely attacks 
the popular notions of eternal life and eternal 
death. " Eternity," he could only reiterate 
in reference to life or to punishment, "has 
nothing to do with time or duration." He 
boldly challenges the announcement of a stern 
and limited gospel the notion that "the 
message which CHRIST brought from Heaven to 
earth is, * My FATHER has created multitudes 
whom He means to perish for ever and 
ever ; by My Agony and bloody sweat, by 
My Cross and Passion, I have induced Him 
in the case of an inconceivable minority to 
forgo that design/ " I dare not pronounce," 
he confesses, " what are the possibilities of 
resistance in a human will to the loving Will 
of GOD. There are times when they seem to 
me, thinking of myself more than others, 
almost infinite. But I know that there is 
something which must be infinite. I am 
obliged to believe in an abyss of love 
deeper than the abyss of death. I dare not 
lose faith in that love. I must feel that this 
love is compassing the universe. More about 
it I cannot know, but GOD knows. I leave 
myself and all to Him." 

The last words are a solemn warning to the 
religious leaders of his time. The doctrine 


126 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

of endless punishment was being avowedly 
defended as necessary for the reprobates of 
the world. Religious men, the people of re 
finement and intelligence, might dispense with 
it. But how were the poor to be kept moral 
without it, or the publicans and harlots 
persuaded to repent of their sins ? Maurice 
shatters such a theory with the affirmations 
of the Gospel. "When CHRIST denounced a 
c generation of vipers, and asked, c How shall 
ye escape the damnation of hell ? He was 
speaking to religious men, to doctors of the 
law. But when He went amongst publicans 
and sinners, it was to preach the Gospel of the 
Kingdom of GOD." 

Never had the challenge been more de 
liberate, or the response more certain. Some, 
like Kingsley, hailed it with enthusiasm. 
" Maurice s Essays," he writes, " will constitute 
an epoch. If the Church of England rejects 
them she will rot and die as the Alexandrian 
died before her. If she accepts them, not as a 
code complete, but as a hint towards a new 
method of thought, she may save herself still." 
Maurice knew that whether the Church of 
England ultimately rejected them or no, at least 
the immediate effect would be repudiation and 
anger. Theological error, especially in the 
form of an awakening against the current 
Tartarean conception of hell, was even more 
serious than fantastic social theories. In fact, 

Fredericf^ Denison Maurice 127 

in the minds of most men, the two hung 
together in a common revolutionary system. 
Maurice s social reform advocated the rising of 
the poor against their masters, while at the 
same time his theological eccentricities removed 
the only guarantee of the morality of the poor 
which is provided by the fear of the hereafter. 
" I would not be surprised," he writes, if the 
book " did reveal the thoughts of many hearts, 
if it were for the falling and rising again of 
many in Israel." But he had recognized also 
from the first that " when I wrote the sentences 
about eternal death, I was writing my own 
sentence at King s College." 

The prophecy was soon verified. A hubbub 
of protest immediately demanded drastic action. 
The unfortunate Principal endeavoured to 
smooth matters over by urging Maurice to 
resign, as most convenient to him and to the 
College. Ever a fighter, with the military 
instinct strong in him, and a determination to 
carry his protest to the end, Maurice rejected 
so simple a course. He was living in an 
atmosphere mystic and exalted, in which the 
particular inconveniences of worldly persecution 
counted for nothing at all. " Hard fighting 
is in store for us," he writes to Kingsley, 
" but those that are with us are stronger than 
those who are against us ; though we ourselves 
may be often among the latter. Let us hope 
rtiightily for the future. There will be a 
gathering of CHRIST S hosts as well as of the 


1 2 8 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

devil s out of the ranks of Pharisees and 
Sadducees, of publicans and harlots." 

So he resolutely refused to resign, and 
challenged the authorities to expel him. To 
have resigned would have been to give away his 
whole contention ; the demand for a liberty of 
prophesying within the Established Church, and 
the rejection of any limits narrower than the 
Articles and the Creed. " 1 plainly declare," he 
announced, " that I cannot preach the Gospel 
at all if I am tied to the popular notions on 
the subject." 

An interminable correspondence resulted, 
becoming more and more impossible as each of 
the men realized that neither had any conception 
of a common denominator. Maurice protested 
vehemently against Dr. Jelf s cheerful phrases : 
" Unhappy publication," " fallen into error," 
" entangled into subtleties," and so on. What 
he had done he had done deliberately with his 
eyes open. " If the publication is unhappy," 
he writes, " all I have ever written was so, and 
all my teaching in the College has been so." 
He was willing, however, to go quietly if the 
Council would call on him to resign because he 
was at variance with a Principal in whom they 
had confidence. He would not resign because 
they held him to believe and teach that which 
a clergyman subscribing to the Articles and the 
Prayer Book has no right to believe and teach. 
Finally, the breach became open and unbridgable. 
Dr. Jelf fixed his complaint upon the necessity 

Frederic^ Denison Maurice 129 

for the establishment of a sound theology on the 
notion of reward and punishment, which, to 
Maurice, was merely a peculiarly offensive form 
of atheism. " I have drawn the sword and 
thrown away the scabbard," he wrote, " telling 
Jelf plainly in a note to-day that 1 see the differ 
ences between us are wider and deeper than he 
supposes ; that they affect the essence of the 
Gospel and the whole interpretation of the 

The forces outside accelerated the catastrophe. 
Bishop Blomfield wrote to Dr. Jelf saying that 
while Professor Maurice held his chair, he 
should decline to receive the College certificate 
as a qualification for the Bishop s examination. 
The Oxford critics were scornful. " Maurice 
had been petted," wrote James Mozley to 
Dean Church, " and told he is a philosopher, 
till he naturally thinks he is one. And he has 
not a clear idea in his head. It is a reputation 
that, the instant it is touched, must go down 
like a card house." 

All the efforts of peacemakers were in vain. 
Maurice thought himself to be fighting the battle 
of a whole generation, concentrated in this dis 
pute upon one particular and vital issue. "The 
crisis, I am convinced, is at hand which will 
bring the question to an issue ; whether we 
believe in what Dr. Jelf calls a religion of 
mercy (proved to be such because phrases 
about salvation are to phrases about damnation 
as 57 to 8, the Bible being a great betting-book 


, ,, , 


130 Leaaers of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

where the odds on the favourite are marked as 
at Doncaster or Newmarket), or whether we 
believe in a gospel of deliverance from sin and 
perdition." " From the multitudes that are 
pretending to believe in GOD, while they mean 
the Devil," he protests in fierce phrases, " I 
saw that it must come, and that it was safer 
to meet it." 

Friends exerted themselves to avert the 
scandal of a public dismissal. Hare warned 
those responsible with what a terrible shock an 
official condemnation of Maurice would come 
to that large portion of the intelligent mind in 
all classes which he had profoundly influenced 
by his teaching and his writings. " I do not 
believe," was his high tribute, " that there is 
any other living man who has done anything at 
all approaching to what Maurice has effected in 
reconciling the reason and the conscience of 
the thoughtful men of our age to the Faith of 
our Church." And Colenso, not yet branded 
as a heretic, dedicated to him in warm and 
friendly admiration a new volume of sermons. 
Wilberforce, seeking peace, and desirous above 
all things of averting a scandal, was filled with 
perplexity. He " exceedingly regrets " the publi 
cation of the Theologlical Sssays. He " continues 
to be altogether at a loss to understand from 
them what Maurice does and what he does not 
hold." "If they stood alone," he confesses, 
" and if they were a fair sample of his theological 
teaching, I should think him so unsafe a teacher 

Frederick Denison Maurice 131 

of youth that I should acquiesce with great 
regret in his removal." But he dreaded the 
noisy triumph of the partizan, and the future of 
such a controversy. " It will be universally 
believed," he wrote to Dr. Jelf, " that Maurice 
is sacrificed to the 1(ecord, and this will inflict 
a blow upon your professorial body of which I 
cannot calculate the issue." He surmises that 
" there will be no small uproar about this 
business," and prophesies " the beginning of 
such strife is as when one letteth out water." 
But the result, as Maurice had foreseen, was 
assured from the beginning. Dr. Jelf sent his 
impeachment, together with printed copies of 
the long correspondence with Maurice, to every 
member of the Council. Maurice returned his 
final reply. On Thursday, October 27, 1 853, a 
special meeting of the Council was summoned 
to consider the matter. After long delibera 
tion, it was resolved that the opinions set forth 
in the essay on Eternal Life, especially referring 
to " the future punishment of the wicked and 
the final issues of the Day of Judgment, are of 
dangerous tendency, and calculated to unsettle 
the minds of the theological students of King s 
College." It was therefore decided that, while 
acknowledging his zealous and able services, 
" the Council feel it to be their painful duty 
to declare that the continuance of Professor 
Maurice s connexion with the College, as one 
of its Professors, would be seriously detrimental 
to its usefulness." 


132 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

An amendment, asking the Bishop of London 
to appoint competent theologians to examine 
the orthodoxy of the writings complained of, 
was moved by Gladstone, but rejected. He 
deplored the rapid and panic-driven judgment 
which was due to " a body of laymen, chiefly 
lords." " Even decency demanded of the 
Council," he wrote to Lord Lyttelton, " acting 
perforce in a judicial capacity, that they should 
let the accused person know in the most 
distinct terms for what he was dismissed, and 
should show that they had dismissed him, if 
at all, only after using much greater pains to 
ascertain that his opinions were in real con 
trariety to some Article of the Faith." 

The decision, in fact, had been settled before 
discussion. Maurice was sacrificed to the 
popular clamour of the religious Press, 
especially the Record^ which had for years 
been demanding his destruction. The Bishop 
of Lichfield (Lonsdale, formerly Principal of 
King s College) wrote to Maurice that on 
these grounds alone he would not have voted 
with the Council ; thus exhibiting his opinion 
" on the question of the expediency of getting 
rid of you in deference to external clamour, 
and not my opinion of your theology." The 
Bishop of London (Blomfield) at the meeting 
stated his opinion that Mr. Maurice was 
preaching " dangerous doctrines, contrary to 
those of the Church of England." The 
reference of these opinions to any impartial 

Frederick Denison Maurice 133 

tribunal which might possibly have pronounced 
in Maurice s favour, was the last thing desired. 

Maurice refused to resign. He was at 
once forbidden to continue lecturing, an insult 
which he felt deeply after the long years of 
devoted service he had given to the College. 
The Council resolved that they entirely 
approved of the Principal s conduct with 
reference to the suspension of Mr. Maurice s 
lectures. He made a last appeal, demand 
ing the formulation of the exact nature 
of the charge against him, and the par 
ticular Articles of the Faith which condemned 
his teaching. " If I have violated any law of 
the Church," he insisted, " that law can be at 
once pointed out. The nature of the transac 
tion can be defined without any reference to 
possible tendencies and results. It is this 
justice, and not any personal favour, which I 
now request at your hands." 

On reading this letter the Council decided 
that they " did not think it necessary to enter 
further into the subject, and declared the two 
chairs held by Mr. Maurice in the College to 
be vacant." 

134 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 


A/TAURICE appears thus, at the age of 
forty-eight, branded as a heretic in the 
sight of all the world ; the centre of a fierce 
controversy in which he found himself almost 
as much in disagreement with his supporters 
as with his opponents. The orthodox, the 
opponents of change, and all the classes 
dominated by the Record newspaper, held that 
he had suffered no more than he deserved. 
Liberal opinion declared in his favour. His 
offer to resign the chaplaincy at Lincoln s Inn 
was refused by the Benchers. Addresses of 
sympathy poured in ; from the co-operators of 
London to their President ; from old pupils 
at King s and from Queen s College ; and 
from members of the Nonconformist bodies. 
None were more welcome than those verses 
of invitation from Tennyson, which will 
always associate Maurice s name in literature 
with a great tribute to a life s devotion ; lines 
which sound even to-day with something of 
the music of the waves, breaking on the 
Channel shore : 

Freaerick Venison Maurice 135 

" For being of that honest few, 
Who give the Fiend himself his due, 

Should eighty-thousand College Councils 
Thunder * Aanathema, friend, at you, 

Should all our Churchmen foam in spite 
At you, so careful of the right, 

Yet one lay hearth would give you welcome 
(Take it and come) to the Isle of Wight. 

Come, Maurice, come ; the lawn as yet 
Is hoar with rime or spongy-wet ; 

But when the wreath of March has blossom d, 
Crocus, anemone, violet, 

Or later, pay one visit here, 

For those are few we love as dear ; 

Nor pay but one, but come for many, 
Many and many a happy year." 

The man himself was undismayed by all the 
tumult around him. " My appeal through 
out," he claimed, " has been to the formularies 
of the Church. I am condemned by those 
especially who wish the religious newspapers 
to be the great court of Ecclesiastical Appeal." 
Content to lose all emoluments from that 
Church s resources, he yet defied all antagonists 
to expel him from its boundaries. " They 
cannot drive me out of the Church of 
England," he announced, " for it is not to 
drive any one out to make him incapable of 
receiving the revenues which are accidentally 
attached to it. These revenues may be turned 
to secular uses, wholly turned perhaps some 
day ; but the Church will remain." 

136 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

The Theological Sssays, aided by so splendid 
an advertisement, excited widespread discussion 
in the country. " I fear I cannot be always 
meek and gentle," Maurice confessed, " with 
the butchers of GOD S words and Church." 
But when he sees such a popular theology as 
that of the Atonement " turning, as I almost 
know, thousands into infidels and hundreds 
into Romanists," he cannot keep silence. 

He was full of continuous plans for social 
betterment ; for " Cambridge Tracts " (the first 
by himself) on the Oxford Movement ; for 
" Tracts for Priests and People," which should 
appeal to the drifting and bewildered crowd 
who knew not what to believe ; for conferences 
on the hazardous subject : " How is the 
chasm to be filled between the clergyman 
and the working man ? " Above all, he 
appealed for light. "That cannot be true," 
he cried, " which shrinks from the light, 
tempting the cowardly and self-indulgent to 
a faint acquiescence ; which involves, it seems 
to me, the most real and deadly atheism." 

Forbidden to teach in the University College, 
which would no longer accept him, he turned 
to the work of educational enlightenment in 
a very different stratum of society, and under 
far more exacting conditions. Scce convertimur 
ad Qentes. The promoters of the Working 
Men s Associations were filled with eagerness 
for the spreading of higher education among 
the working class. Inspired by the example 

Frederick Denison Maurice 137 

of the People s College which had been 
established at Sheffield twelve years before, 
they determined to establish a similar in 
stitution in London. 

Early in 1854 Maurice drew up a printed 
scheme of organization, which became the basis 
of the Scheme for the Working Men s College. 
A house in Red Lion Square, rented from one 
of the Associations which had collapsed, was 
set apart as the home of the new venture. 
Maurice lectured to raise funds and to make 
the experiment known. In October of that 
year the College was launched into the 
world with an inaugural address by Maurice 
at S. Martin s Hall. More than 130 students 
were enrolled for the first year. Men of 
ability and renown were interested in its aims 
and persuaded to volunteer as teachers. 
Ruskin started a drawing class, Rossetti taught 
the use of colour, Westlake, Frederic Harrison, 
Lowes Dickinson, and others, generously gave 
their time and interest. 

There were difficulties in all the early days 
concerning tests, and the religious influences 
of the place. The daily routine, and many cir 
cumstances connected with it, caused Maurice 
great distress and continual fits of depression. 
Sometimes he is lamenting the unpopularity 
of prayers at the College, and " our general 
failure to give it a heart." Sometimes he is 
troubled over the question of Sunday, and 
the organization of excursions and walks for 


138 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

those who showed no desire to attend places 
of religious worship. He was continually- 
endeavouring to resign, and was continually 
brought back again into the difficulties. " I 
have felt that a Working College," he wrote 
to Mr. Ludlow, " if it is to do anything must 
be in direct hostility to the secularists ; that 
is to say, must assert that as its foundation 
principle which they are denying. But to do 
this effectually it must also be in direct 
hostility to the religionists ; that is to say, 
it must assert the principle that GOD is to be 
sought and honoured in every pursuit, not 
merely in something technically called religion." 
But, although in many respects disappointing 
the fervent dreams of its founders, the College 
continued to live with various fortunes, and 
to-day, in a new home and with a new 
generation of supporters, cherishes in reverence 
and affection the memory of the pioneers. 

From the controversy over King s College 
to the attack upon Mansel seven years later, 
Maurice was passing through a time of com 
parative quiet. The years passed, bringing their 
changes ; losses, bereavement, the coming of 
middle age, the opportunities appearing and 
vanishing like little clouds on the sky-line. 
His mother died, and his sister Priscilla in 
1854 ; his brother-in-law, Archdeacon Hare, 
the following year. The nation was being 
stirred by the re-appearance of the horrid sights 
of war, after the long peace ; and the struggle 

FredericJ^ Denison Maurice 139 

in the Crimea, with all its follies and heroisms, 
was challenging the interpreters of human 
history in the light of prophecy. 

Maurice was less moved than Kingsley and 
Tennyson by the outward show of its pageant, 
the shock of battle, the " sword s high irresist 
ible song." He sought, often painfully, to 
find the inner meaning of it all ; to understand 
the working of GOD S providence on the large 
stage of human affairs. Kingsley felt the horrors 
of that long Russian winter breaking his spirit, 
and every soldier s suffering was laid upon 
him like a personal pain. " Statesmen, Bishops, 
and all that are false to our country in her 
hour of need," weighed heavily on his soul. 
" It is a burning fiery furnace," Maurice writes 
to him, " we are going through in this war. 
I see it, and in some degree I feel it, and 
the SON of GOD, I believe and trust, is with us 
in the midst of it." He had hoped for the 
war chiefly as " a sign of what GOD was doing." 
He believed the attack on Russia to be right 
and just. He thought "our business," which 
we have been " forced to do when we were 
most reasonably and remarkably reluctant, is 
to resist a power which set itself up to break 
down national boundaries, and establish a 
universal Empire." "Goo has sent us upon the 
errand " he declares boldly. And he finds the 
war " like the commencement of a battle 
between GOD in His absoluteness, and 
the Czar in his." 

1 40 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

Later came the darker tragedies of the 
Indian Mutiny, " bringing back all the ques 
tions to this age which the Lisbon earthquake 
forced upon the last." " We shall have our 
letters on optimism and also our Candides. 
And if we do not take the Cross as the solution 
of the world s puzzles, I think the Voltaire 
doctrine will triumph over the Rousseau." 
"I think," he confessed, "that there should 
be no accusations except of ourselves ; and 
that these should appear chiefly in acts of 
repentance." He laments the methods of 
"progress" in India which have finally resulted 
in this tragedy. " Our morality and our Chris 
tianity are of a very low order." We cannot 
impart more than we have. " We have im 
parted just what we have and what we were 
some sense of law, justice, truth, with a 
considerable amount of atheism. It is clear 
that we have converted the people to that^ 
and the atheistical period being impregnated 
with all the elements of the devil-worship 
which it has supplanted, is, as the first French 
Revolution proved, the time for ferocities." 

In many of the questions of current contro 
versy he was on the Conservative side. He 
was often distrustful of the demand for the 
breaking-up of old institutions, and of the thirst 
for independence and for pleasure which had 
come upon a world so occupied with its great 
possessions. The Sunday controversy was in 
full cry during these years. He hated the 


Frederick Dentson Maurice 141 

method by which those who feared the future 
were endeavouring to stamp down the forces 
which were breaking up the old Puritan 
Sabbath. He protested against the petition 
of the LORD S Day Society, with its glib quo 
tations from Scripture, evoking the terrible 
suspicion that " there must be something in our 
religious condition which is very like that of 
the Jews when they made the Sabbath Day 
the main excuse for denying the Son of 
man, and the SON of GOD, and seeking to 
kill Him." But he still upheld " the Christian 
Sabbath " as " expressing that union of rest and 
work which is implied in the constitution of 
the universe," still " an ordinance connected 
with the nation and its holiness." 

His sermons at Lincoln s Inn were regularly 
printed, and distributed by a little company 
of his followers and friends. He published 
his book on Sacrifice, and a collection of 
lectures ; his sermons on S. John s Gospel, 
and on the Apocalypse ; with the first part 
of his great History of Philosophy. He con 
tinued undaunted his warfare against the old 
enemies ; " the foul stench sent forth by our 
anonymous periodical literature," and the 
religious world, " which I hope will hate me 
more and more," he wrote at this time, "and 
which I hope to hate more and more." He 
proclaimed as resolutely as ever the principles 
which guided all his energies in the service 
of GOD and man : that time and eternity 

142 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

co-exist here, that " we cannot always act upon 
the strange lie that the things which we see 
are those which determine what we are " ; that 
the knowledge of GOD is eternal life. He 
demonstrated from S. John s theology " not 
only that the knowledge of GOD is possible 
for men, but that it is the foundation of all 
knowledge of men and things ; that science 
is impossible altogether if He is excluded 
from the sphere of it." 

In that commonplace world of mid-century 
London, in a kind of Bloomsbury villa, with 
but little outward evidence of any motive- 
power animating the life around but the thirst 
for pleasure and for comfort, Maurice lived 
in those exalted regions where GOD and His 
enemies wrestled for the bodies and the souls 
of men. He saw the Churches, with their 
stiff, formal traditions, sharply divided from the 
life of the ever-passing crowd. He found their 
energies pent up into services one day in seven, 
and emphasizing only the more obvious sins 
of the flesh as being the essence of all evil. 
He demanded that they should come out into 
the streets and into the daylight, in a new 
crusade for the transfiguration of the whole 
of modern society, in the light of the great 
illumination of the end. " I am sure," he 
maintained, " that if the Gospel is not regarded 
as a message to all mankind of the redemption 
which GOD has effected in His SON ; if the 
Bible is thought to be speaking only of a 

Frederic^ Denison Maurice 143 

world to come, and not of a Kingdom of 
Righteousness and Peace and Truth with 
which we may be in conformity or in enmity 
now ; if the Church is not felt to be the 
hallower of all professions and occupations, 
the bond of all classes, the instrument of 
reforming abuses, the admonisher of the rich, 
the friend of the poor, the asserter of the 
glory of that humanity which CHRIST bears 
we are to blame, and GOD will call us to 
account as unfaithful stewards of His trea 

His vision of the world around him was 
apocalyptic ; as full of sombre and bright colour 
as that flashing union of high things and base 
which Carlyle in similar times was unfolding 
to the world. Behind the grey bricks and 
crowded streets and bewildered, busy people, 
he discerned the pouring of the vials, and the 
loosening of the great winds of heaven, and 
the thunder of the trumpets of the night. 
More and more he came to believe in a 
tremendous crisis to which humanity was 
hurrying, and in the dark days which are 
awaiting the children of the years to come. " I 
foresee a terrible breaking down of notions, 
opinions, even of most precious beliefs ; an 
overthrow of what we call our religion ; a 
convulsion greater than that of the sixteenth 
century in our way to reformation and unity. 
Still I believe they will come, and that they will 
come through an unveiling to our hearts of the 

1 44 Leaders of the Church 1 3 oo - 1 900 

old mystery of the Trinity in which our fathers 
believed, but which they made an excuse for 
exclusion and persecution, not a bond of fellow 
ship, a message of peace and deliverance to 
mankind." This preaching of the Trinity in 
its fullness, he declares, will be " the everlasting 
Gospel to the nations, which will involve the 
overthrow of the Papal polity and the brutal 
tyrannies, as well as the foul superstitions of 
the earth." 

Maurice believed that the Apocalypse would 
at last be found to remove most veils from this 
mystery, as well as " the meaning of the course 
of GOD S government of the world from the 
beginning to the end." His lectures on the 
Revelation of S. John exhibit his outlook upon 
life ; his strange and often disturbing exegesis, 
his mystical vision, and the passionate elo 
quence of his appeal to Divine guidance and 
judgment and vindication in all the courses 
of human affairs. It is the book which could, 
perhaps, be most readily recommended as con 
veying some sense of the power of the man, 
and that fire within him which, as in the case 
of the legendary hero of old, seemed sufficient 
to burn up the sins of the whole world. He 
passes from queer, often fantastic, interpreta 
tions of the meaning of these obscure visions 
to the unfolding of a Divine philosophy of 
history ; in which, suddenly and in a moment, 
there becomes revealed to him, in a form which 
words can scarcely utter, the conception of the 

Fredericf^ Denison Maurice 145 

Divine purposes. Sometimes he will turn 
to denounce the exaltation of the greatness 
of London in terms of the old exaltation of 
the greatness of Babylon or Tyre or any other 
heathen polity. Sometimes he will remind 
his audience that the one may be no stabler 
than the other. " Now, as in the old time, 
there are idols, processions, and sacrifices 
offered to vain things that cannot help or 
deliver." "Call your world religious, political, 
commercial, fashionable, by what title you 
please, it is still a harlot world, a world of 
confusion and bondage." All his pleading 
is an expansion of the declaration which once 
the old English people delighted to inscribe 
on the doors and lintels of their houses, from 
which the world of his day had wandered 
so far away : Nisi domum Dominus #dificat, 
labor frustra est ; " Except the LORD build 
the house, their labour is but lost that 
build it. Except the LORD keep the city, 
the watchman waketh but in vain." 

Sometimes, again, London, England, all the 
little causes of to-day s fretting and noises, 
vanish in the scene of a great panorama 
advancing steadily from its remote beginnings 
to a sure end ; the panorama of man s life and 
destiny, unrolled on the vast stage of human 
affairs. " Following the dictates of their sepa 
rate, individual, Adam nature," he cries, " they 
have realized the full meaning of the curse ; 
they have sunk into themselves ; in the midst 


146 Leaders of the Chunk 1800-1900 

of society, they have been solitary. Claiming 
their right as made in the image of GOD 
they have found a second Adam, who is not 
a living soul but a quickening spirit. They 
have left the garden with all its delights as 
a condition fit for babyhood, not for mature 
age. They have perceived that labour is 
better than enjoyment ; conquest of the thorn 
and the thistle, than the eating of all things 
that are good for food and pleasant to the 
sight. They have learnt that the way to the 
tree of life is through death ; that when it 
takes the form of the cross the flaming sword 
cannot keep any sinful mortal from approach 
ing it. They see the river which watered the 
garden converted into a river of the water 
of life, proceeding out of the Throne of GOD 
and of the Lamb." 

He refused to alter the writing of his past 
controversy. " Like Pilate, I am afraid of 
altering it, lest I should substitute, to please 
the Jews, c He said, " I am King," for ( He is 
King. He was subject to depression always, 
and knew the terrors of the descent into the 
depths and waste places of the human soul. 
" The eternal torment," he once wrote, " which 
I not only believe but know that we must 
be saved from, because I have been in it." 
" I am a hard Puritan," he confessed in one 
place, "almost incapable of enjoyment, though 
on principle justifying enjoyment as GOD S 
gift to His creatures." The old humility 

Frederic^ Denison Maurice 1 47 

remained. " I have well deserved to alienate 
all whom I love," he mournfully declares, "and 
with many I have succeeded only too well." 
Proofs about GOD under such conditions were 
no use to him at all. A demiurge creating 
a universe which he had sent spinning uncon 
trolled down the courses of change, seemed to 
him no more consoling to the troubled family 
of mankind than a blind chance which had 
thrown together man s blind beginnings. He 
wanted GOD here and now. His cry was the 
cry of humanity out of the dust : a call for 
a Redeemer, a Deliverer ; the " human cry " 
de profundis, in all ages. In extremity, in face 
of reality, the strongest spirit must thus throw 
itself back upon the Infinite, with the pleading 
of Columbus as he gazed over the conquering 
storm : " I will cling fast to Thee, O GOD, 
though the waves buffet me : Thee, Thee at 
least I know." " I think with you," he writes 
to Kingsley, "of darker days to come. I speak 
of them sometimes to my children ; but oftener 
of a brighter day that, I think, will rise 
out of the darkness, and which we, though 
we may have left the earth, may share with 
them." The great struggle of every time 
he affirmed, in words which interpret the 
whole upheaval of an age, is " to realize the 
union of the spiritual and the eternal with the 
manifestations of it in time." " We must have 
the eternal which our fathers nearly forgot ; 
we are seizing it with a violence which makes 

we an 

148 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

us throw aside what they knew and felt to be 
unspeakably precious. We shall find that we 
must take their bequest or give up our own 
purchase. But we must believe that, through 
whatever conflicts and terrible they must be 
we are to reach a fuller and brighter discovery 
of Him who was from the beginning, than the 
ages that were before us." 

He refused to adopt the transcendental 
method, which despaired of the message being 
found within the boundaries of the historic 
religion, and wandered out into the ways of 
nature or turned inward to the examination 
of man s soul in order to find that which 
it desired. The English method, to which 
he clung, " must begin with the FATHER," 
he affirmed, " in order to know something of 
the SON and the SPIRIT." So he clung to the 
Bible, and the affirmations of the Church in 
Creed and Articles : and all the long evidence 
in eighteen disordered centuries of Power 
working towards unity in the world. The 
Old Testament he accepted as the message of 
deliverance " I am the LORD thy GOD, which 
brought thee out of the house of bondage." 
The Articles, he asserted, were not unfriendly 
to progress, but favourable to it. He refused 
to accept the forlorn confession that the mind 
of men in all the travail of the ages had failed 
to attain any position which was stable and 
secure. " We are likely to revolve in endless 
circles, not to advance at all, if we assume that 


FredericJ^ Denison Maurice 149 

nothing has been done or proved yet in 
the world concerning moral and spiritual 

Above all, in thus turning back from the 
outward show of social re-organization into 
examination of the kingdom of the spirit, 
Maurice was none the less passionately con 
cerned with the welfare of those " common 
people " for whose salvation he had striven 
so bravely. "All doubts are sacred," he 
announces, "except those of the rich." "There 
come times to all of us when we wish the 
people at the devil, when we would like to 
forget all that we have ever said or thought 
about them." Yet there is the inevitable 
return ; in which, through all art and nature, 
the man who revolts from this hard service 
will be taught to love the people again, " to 
feel that the best thing for any of us is to 
live and die for them." 

The loss of a belief in a living GOD, 
chiefly through the sins of the priesthood, 
had resulted in the loss of freedom to 
Christendom. He thought it impossible that 
freedom should return without the Faith. 
The time of struggle and deliverance must be 
at hand. He announces himself as continually 
struggling against the " devil-worship," which 
all civilization and all Christianity has to fight 
as a common enemy. He sees the clergy 
bitterly estranged from all classes of the people, 
high and low, wise and unwise. " And yet the 

UlgU A 

150 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

heart and the flesh of the intellectual man, as 
much as of the clodhoppers, are crying out for 
the living GOD" ; in a cry " we have not under 
stood and have been unable to answer." "The 
god we have preached has not been the GOD 
who is manifested in His SON JESUS CHRIST ; 
but another altogether different being, in whom 
we mingle strangely the Siva and the Vishnu 
the first being the ground of the character, the 
other its ornamental and graceful vesture." 
" Groaning in spirit," he describes himself, as 
he has seen the priests in the churches, "who 
seemed as if they existed to bear witness that 
there is no fellowship between earth and 
heaven, and that GOD and man are not recon 
ciled." " I have asked myself whither all 
things are tending, and what the movements 
of these sixty years have brought forth." 
And he can find an answer which can redeem 
him out of the despair of one gazing merely 
on the outward aspect of an apostate age. 
" Every one of these movements has been a 
step in the revelation to men that they are 
not animals plus a soul, but that they are spirits 
with an animal nature ; that the bond of their 
union is not a commercial one, not submission 
to a common tyrant, not brutal rage against 
him, but that it does rest and has always rested 
on a spiritual ground ; that the sin of the 
Church, the horrible apostasy of the Church, 
has consisted in denying its own function, 
which is to proclaim to men their spiritual 

Fredericf^ Denison Maurice 

condition, the eternal foundation on which 
it rests, the manifestation which has been 
made of it by the birth, death, resurrection 
and ascension of the SON of GOD, and the gift 
of the Spirit." 

1 52 Leaders of the Church 1 800 - 1 900 



TPHE second of Maurice s two greatest 
controversies passed out from the region 
of ephemeral speculation into questions of 
profounder import. The Rev. H. L. Mansel, 
Reader in Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy 
in the University of Oxford, and afterwards 
Dean of S. Paul s, was a brilliant logician 
of the school of Sir William Hamilton. It 
had been rumoured for some time that he 
was the author of a new apologetic, which 
would make short work of all modern heresies, 
and restore the battered walls of the orthodox 
theology. By a kind of destructive criticism 
of human intelligence and human ethics, the 
troublesome German idealists and the irritating 
English moralists were alike to be rendered 
ridiculous. The impeachment of the ethics 
of the Old Testament, or of the philosophy 
of the accepted creeds, was to be rendered 
suddenly useless by demonstration of the 
worthlessness of all such attempts of the 
creature to interpret the mind of the Creator. 
In 1858 this new Apologetic was proclaimed 
from the University pulpit in the famous 

Fredericf^ Denison Maurice 153 

Bampton Lectures upon reason and revela 
tion. The lectures were attended by crowded 
audiences at Oxford. When published, they 
rapidly ran through two editions. Everywhere 
they were approved by those who saw their 
usefulness in the immediate campaign against 
rationalism, and who failed to understand the 
enormous abysses to which the " New 
Agnosticism " was directly to lead. 

Maurice, from the first, recognized the full 
implications of Mansel s logic. He immediately 
joined issue in a fierce attack. The contro 
versy took upon itself elements of passing 
interest in the personal issues which became 
mingled with the larger discussion. But the 
subject of the divergence was as old as history, 
and will last as long as intelligence in the world 
endures. The contending positions have been 
dividing mankind since the same problem 
confused the praises of the Psalmists, and dis 
quieted the author of the Book of Job. The 
challenge which had come in the form of that 
mighty drama to a simple pastoral people, 
wandering between the desert and the sea, is 
a challenge equally inevitable and perhaps 
equally unanswerable in a world where every 
thing but the desert and the sea has changed. 
Complexity and ingenuity of invention have 
elaborated man s mind, and multiplied his out 
ward possessions, in a fashion which would 
seem to those ancient, simple peoples to have 
made him almost a rival of the gods. But 


154 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

the question, " Canst thou by searching find out 
GOD ? " is still haunting the minds of all who 
are driven, by the unrest which abides in 
material triumphs, towards effort beyond the 
boundary of material things. Why has He 
brought bitterness on the earth ? Why are 
moral elements so hard to disentangle in 
human affairs ? Whence come these catas- 
trophies which fall upon mankind, and bring 
sudden ruin alike on the guilty and the 
innocent ? Is there ground for the hope that 
moral elements will be vindicated in any kind 
of ultimate judgment, in which the wicked will 
be cast down and the righteous exalted ? The 
question when once opened, here as always, 
passes to the further and more disquieting 
problem : Can the finite in any degree appre 
hend the Infinite ? Has mankind merely to bow 
before omnipotent force, from which nothing 
can be predicted in relation to that moral law 
which it has elaborated in its own cramped and 
limited life ? Is humanity to worship an abso 
lute Being, though His justice be not as human 
justice, nor His mercy as the mercy of men ? 

All these questions were involved in this 
struggle ; between the one side, which em 
phasized the mysteries of the Infinite, and the 
failure of the human reason before the un 
known ; and the other, which clung defiantly to 
the tradition of a great past, and affirmed that 
the goodness and justice of men were of the 
same order as the goodness and justice of 

Denison Maurice 155 

GOD. It was a controversy which developed 
an extraordinary bitterness, in which the energy 
expended turned to heat rather than to light. 
Maurice undoubtedly commenced the onslaught. 
He fell upon Mansel s theology with a fierce 
ness which surprised his own friends. His own 
view was that he was attacking an intellectual 
position. But reading the controversy to-day, 
with Maurice s taunts and ironies and ferocities, 
we may understand why the author of the 
Bampton Lectures found it difficult to distin 
guish the position from the personality. All 
Maurice s life had, in fact, been concentrated 
upon one ultimate affirmation. He saw this 
here denied. He saw it denied, as he thought 
(perhaps unjustly) not sadly and reluctantly, 
but with a kind of jaunty contentment. He 
saw the alternative as an assertion of a loung 
ing agnosticism which for the young men of 
the time was saving the trouble of thought. 
Human life to Maurice only became significant 
in so far as it turned itself to the search after a 
knowledge of GOD. To that high quest had 
been dedicated the effort of the noblest minds of 
the centuries. His History of Philosophy was, 
as a matter of fact, a history of philosophers. 
He showed them wandering into many strange 
ways and coming to many different conclusions. 
But he showed them all consumed with this 
fierce desire, to know the meaning of the 
world, to know the Maker of the world. 
All separate systems and diverse theologies 

156 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

bore witness in his interpretation to this 
one central fact, the insatiable longing of the 
creature towards the Creator ; quemadmodum 
desiderat cervus ad fontes aquarum. And 
this thirst "as of the hart for the water- 
brooks," had evoked its satisfaction. Human 
experience could testify to a response. Life 
had become intelligible and radiant in the 
response of the Creator towards the creature, 
the coming of that " Eternal Life " which is 
the very life of GOD. "Thou hast fashioned 
us, O GOD, for Thee : and the human heart is 
restless, till it finds rest in Thee," was a state 
ment, not only of struggle, but of attainment. 
"To feel through the actual finite for the 
Infinite, through the actual temporal for the 
Eternal " was no blind crying in the darkness, 
but an effort which advanced towards a goal. 
If the possibility of such a purpose and end 
be denied, life becomes for Maurice a tale 
told by an idiot, signifying nothing. If the 
denial were made sorrowfully and reverently, 
with some sense of the tremendous issues 
involved, he would still resist, with every 
energy of his being, the vanishing over the 
horizon of all the hope of the world. He 
thought he found the denial made pleasantly, 
with dialectic ingenuity, designed in a kind of 
cleverness to turn the flank or the anti-Christian 
philosophy of the day. He repudiated the 
scorn thrown upon German thinkers for 
attempting to transcend the boundaries of 

Fredericf^ Denison Maurice 157 

human knowledge. He knew these men to be 
very different from the vulgar opinion which 
regarded them as arrogant heretics and atheists. 
He would have nothing to do with the building 
of the Church upon a kind of universal ignor 
ance. The preaching of such a doctrine from 
a University pulpit to the clergy and students 
of the future, seemed to him a thing intolerable. 
Like " Paul with beasts," he had " fought with 
death." If this were true, all the long fight 
had been a vain and empty thing. So he 
struck out in a kind of white heat of protest 
against the principle, here concentrated in 
tangible form, which he had felt as a kind 
of elusive power of evil diffused through all 
the society of his time. 

And in these months of violent and often 
painful controversy was fought the battle of 
an age. Mansel had learnt philosophy from 
Hamilton. His successor was Herbert Spencer. 
He occupies an intermediate place in a con 
tinuous transition from the one to the other. 
His lectures are full of logical acuteness, 
and contain passages of striking eloquence 
and beauty. He could plead with some 
justice that he was following in the tradi 
tion of Butler. The great apologist of the 
eighteenth century had confronted the vague 
and benignant Deism of his day with facts 
of nature and human life which no man could 
challenge or deny. Against the fastidious re 
pudiation of the hardness and strangeness of 

158 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

revealed religion he had exhibited the hardness 
and strangeness of natural religion. He had 
proved to the optimism of his century that 
no god of rose-water and happiness could be 
constructed by reason contemplating the tangled 
chaos of the universe. Mansel was attempt 
ing to push the same principle to a further 
conclusion. " No difficulty emerges in theology," 
he quotes from Sir William Hamilton, " which 
has not previously emerged in philosophy." He 
examines the historic antinomies, the difficulties 
of succession in a timeless state, the irreconcil 
able contrast of unity and plurality, freedom 
and necessity, finite and infinite. But he passes 
beyond this comparatively trodden way into 
more daring speculations concerning a moral 
divergence between the limited and the Un 
conditioned. " He Who has ordained all things 
in measure, number and weight, has also given 
to the reason of man, as to his life, its boundaries 
which it cannot pass." He confesses that " our 
heavenly affections must in some measure take 
their source and their form from our earthly 
ones," and our love towards GOD, if it is to 
be love at all, must not be wholly unlike our 
love towards our neighbour. But what of 
GOD S love to us ? " That there is an absolute 
morality," he affirmed, " based upon, or rather 
identical with, the eternal nature of GOD, is, 
indeed, a conviction forced upon us by the same 
evidence as that on which we believe that GOD 
exists at all. But what that absolute morality is 

Fredericf^ Denison Maurice 159 

we are as unable to fix in any human conception 
as we are to divine the other attributes of the 
same Divine nature." 

So he appeals against the popular impeach 
ment, in the name of human conceptions of for 
giveness, of an eternal punishment. We cannot 
know what is the relation of sin to infinite 
justice. To the affirmative that sin cannot 
for ever be triumphant against GOD, he opposes 
the mystery of the existence of sin at any time. 
Is not GOD infinitely wise and holy and 
powerful now, and does not sin exist along with 
that infinite holiness and wisdom and power ? 
" It is no disparagement of the value and 
authority of the moral reason," he says in a 
central passage, "within its proper sphere ot 
human action, if we refuse to exalt it to the 
measure and standard of the absolute and 
infinite goodness of GOD." " In His moral 
attributes " (is the summary) " no less than in 
the rest of His Infinite Being, GOD S judg 
ments are unsearchable, and His ways past 
finding out." 

These are the passages which draw from Mill 
the fiery retort : " I will call no being good who 
is not what I mean when I apply that epithet to 
my fellow-creatures, and if such a being can 
sentence me to hell for not so calling him, to 
hell I will go." Mansel, in fact, was demanding 
Revelation because Reason unaided could make 
nothing of the world. Instead of falling back 
on an infallible Church he was appealing to 

160 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

an infallible Bible. It was the same essential 
argument as that in which Newman, in one 
of the great passages of the Apologia^ after 
describing the astonishing and bewildering 
panorama which the history of humanity opened 
to the thoughtful mind, declared the spectacle 
" a vision to dizzy and appal," inflicting upon 
the mind " the sense of a profound mystery, 
which is absolutely beyond human solution." 
Mansel refused to criticize the ethical 
standards of the Old Testament ; because he 
refused to acknowledge any ethical standards 
by which such a creature as man could weigh 
and measure the character of GOD. The little 
human limitations, in dividing between good and 
evil, and weighing nicely the balance in human 
action between the one and the other, were finite 
judgments of finite things. They had no place 
in the region of the infinite. Mansel garnished 
his philosophical argument with fervent and 
eloquent exhortations concerning human effort 
and humility and work in the service of man. 
But fundamentally his position varied very 
little from that expounded in the philosophy 
of Caliban upon Setebos. It is the abandon 
ment by the moral reason of man, of the 
difficult task of asserting moral reason to be 
the foundation of the universe. It is but a 
short step from this scepticism to the assertion 
of a caprice or a malice in the play of natural 
things. So we are back on the Enchanted 
Island ; contemplating a deity, spiteful, playful, 

cJ Denison Maurice 1 6 1 

capricious, whose ways and manners we can 
never estimate or judge ; and thinking that, as 
he cannot heal his cold nor cure his ache, he 
plays with the fortunes of his creatures ; raising 
one to honour and happiness, condemning 
another to infinite torment ; and all just as 
Caliban himself lets the twenty lucky creatures 
pass and suddenly shatters the twenty-first, for 
no intelligible reason, " loving not, hating not, 
just choosing so." 

" This seems to me," said Maurice, " the 
most important question in the world." " I 
cannot put up with a dream in the place of 
GOD," was his passionate assertion from the 
beginning of his labour to the end. Most men 
are content to accept some dim and misty con 
ception of an Almighty Being, woven from 
the fading visions of childhood, in which 
the Almighty appears as a visible person, a 
venerable old man ; tempered by a later know 
ledge that heaven is not above the curtain 
of the sky, nor the Ruler and Maker of the 
world compounded of material things, in a 
Paradise beyond the fixed stars. They are 
busy with the doings of a day, and but vaguely 
conscious of a special Providence brooding over 
human affairs, to be invoked in moments of 
sorrow and despair. Maurice, like Hamlet, 
saw a special Providence in the fall of a sparrow 
or the breaking of a leaf. GOD still visibly 
walked in the garden in the cool of the day, 
and every bush was aflame with His Presence. 


1 62 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

His laws directed the long process of history. 
His righteousness thundered in the judgments 
which fell upon men and nations who repudiated 
His service. In such an apprehension of the 
Divine, Mansel s agnosticism created a vast 
desolation. The human cry passed upward 
into starless spaces, to an Infinite Power remote 
from man s ideal goodness ; where all moral 
and finite conceptions lost their intelligible 
meaning, and vanished in the vastness and 
the cold. 

Maurice could hold no communion with a 
God whose goodness was not as man s good 
ness, and who revealed Himself in dogmatic 
commands which might be irrational but which 
must be obeyed. He was of the long tradition 
who had denied the acceptance of such an easy 
cutting of the tangled skein of life. He had 
confronted the strength of the agnostic demon 
stration of the inseparable difficulties which 
human reason discovers, when it beats against 
the boundaries which no human reason can 
pass. He had known something of the agony 
of those who found no guidance outside man s 
feeble impulse, and no goodness beyond his 
tiny random efforts towards the righting of all 
the old wrongs. He had " almost said even as 
they." But he had recalled the tenacity and 
courage of the long tradition of those who had 
refused to accept such a triumph of night and 
darkness. Had he failed where these had 
endured, "then," he must have confessed, 

Denison Maurice 163 

" I should have condemned the generation 
of Thy children." 

So that in this particular point of time the 
campaign of centuries was fought in one of 
its stoutest battles. First in a series of ser 
mons, and then in public "Letters to a Student 
of Theology preparing for Orders," Maurice 
challenged his opponent. It must be con 
fessed that the method adopted would seem 
to have excited the maximum of irritation with 
the minimum of effect. He writes as to one 
who is actually sitting under the lectures of 
Mr. Mansel at Oxford, and accepting him as 
his teacher and guide. He writes with ex 
clamatory sarcasms interspersed with compli 
ments to the Bampton Lecturer. These 
compliments are quite honestly intended ; but 
set in such a context they appear to be even 
more elaborate attacks upon their victim. 
There is little here of philosophic examination 
in the region of metaphysic, in which Maurice 
was as much at home as his opponent ; but 
contemptuous references to the fact that Mansel 
had swept away Thomas & Kempis, Augustine, 
Bernard, all the work of the Schoolmen and 
all the work of the English Church divines. 
Maurice professed to rejoice in the publication 
of Mr. Mansel s book, nearly as much as its 
most vehement admirers can rejoice ; " for the 
question must now be asked of each one of 
us : * Do you take these words about knowing 
GOD which occur in books of devotion, in 

OOD v 

164 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

old divines, in the Prayer Book, in the Bible, 
literally or figuratively in a less exact sense 
than you would use the word " know " as 
applied to some other subject ?" He sneers 
at Mansel s parade of authority and at the 
" learned principles in the text/ He describes 
" how rude and poor my way of arriving at 
the force of a word is, in comparison with 
Mr. Mansel s." " But you and I are not School 
men ; we are roughing it in the world. We 
have to look upon all questions as they bear 
upon the actual business of life." He accuses 
Mansel of a vagueness deliberately designed to 
appease the professedly Orthodox and Evan 
gelical clergymen in London. " In virtue of 
that vagueness he is able to deal his blows right 
and left. He can at least frighten his readers 
with the belief that there is something which 
they ought to eschew." He raises as witness 
against Mansel, quotations from Milton s letter 
to Hartlib, in which the poet describes 
the " young unmatriculated novice " driven 
into intellectual chaos by the " abstractions 
of logic and metaphysics ; so that those 
of a most delicious and airie spirit retire 
themselves, knowing no better, to the enjoy 
ment of ease and luxury, living out their 
days in feast and jollity, which, indeed, is the 
wisest and safest course of all those unless 
they were with more integrity undertaken." 
He makes a vital point, indeed, when he states 
that Mansel s whole argument "turns not on 

Fredericf^ Denison Maurice 165 

my consciousness of finite things and my in 
capacity for being conscious of infinite things " 
but " upon my consciousness of the term finite 
and the term infinite." Mansel s conception of 
prayer " constant activity in besieging a being 
of whose will we know nothing" he finds 
realized in practice, not in the New Testament, 
but in the experience of those who called on 
the name of Baal from morning even until 
noon, saying, " O Baal, hear us. But there 
was no voice, nor any that regarded." 

Maurice s whole contention against Mansel s 
philosophy and the lessons of his teaching are 
summed up in his conviction that "all pain 
and restlessness is better than self-contentment." 
" I believe that among Mr. Mansel s auditors," 
he says, " there will have been not a few on 
whom his words will have acted as a most 
soothing lullaby, who will have wrapped them 
selves in comfortable thankfulness that they 
were not Rationalists, spiritualists, or even as 
that German ; who will have rejoiced to think 
that they do not trouble themselves about 
eternal things which are out of man s reach, 
like Puritans and Methodists ; who will pro 
claim that they accept Christianity in the lump, 
and so are not impeded by any of its little 
details from thinking and doing what they list." 
" Such men, I believe, do more to lower the 
moral tone and moral practice of England than 
all sceptics and infidels altogether." 

Finally, when he comes to the moral 

1 66 Leaden of the Church 1800-1900 

question, the test and summary of all that 
has gone before, Maurice prophesies against 
Mansel, with something of the dogmatism and 
more of the violence of the Hebrew prophet. 
" I was beginning to comment on these words. 
I was trying to tell you what impression they 
made on me. I cannot I can only say if 
they are true, let us burn our Bibles, let us tell 
our countrymen that the agony and bloody 
sweat of CHRIST, His cross and passion, His 
death and burial, His resurrection and ascen 
sion, mean nothing." Without the belief in 
that restitution of all things which Mansel had 
scorned, "we shall not stop at Mr. Mansel s 
point," says Maurice savagely, " but we shall 
be certain that evil must run for ever and ever, 
must drive out all that is opposed to it. We 
shall praise thee, O devil, we shall acknow 
ledge thee to be the lord." He accused 
Mansel of attempting to defend the Bible, 
" but the moment he approaches it, feeling 
that he is at war with it " ; and of adopting 
a position which could only logically result in 
a blind abnegation of human reason ; either 
in the acceptance of the claims of an infallible 
Church or the losing of human action in the 
sand and thorns of a universal ignorance and 

Such extracts sufficiently reveal the atmo 
sphere in which Maurice confronted the 
new Christian agnosticism. Mansel, stung 

Frederic^ Dcnison Maurice 167 

to protest by this torrent of invective and 
sarcasm, not unnaturally, broke into a still 
fiercer reply ; and the flames of controversy 
raged hotly for a time. Maurice at once was 
recalled to a more tranquil mood, and in his 
counter reply abandoned much of that cause 
of offence which had appeared like personal 
prejudice and violence. " If the religious Press 
had not declared, almost en masse, in favour of 
Mansel," he said, " I would not have written 
against him." All through the bitter struggle 
he felt that he was not crushing some unfor 
tunate, friendless advocate of new doctrine, 
but protesting against a fashionable philosophy 
entrenched in high places, applauded by the 
religious world. Mansel had intervened in 
Maurice s former controversy upon Eternal 
Life with a clearer foresight of the issues 
involved, than the more ignorant of his 
opponents. He had shown that " the attempt 
to defend the then currently received view in 
regard to Elysium and Tartarus was hopeless, 
if GOD S character was really shadowed forth in 
such sentences as : c Can a mother forget her 
sucking child ? Yea, she may forget, yet will 
I not forget thee. Maurice seemed to see 
this great thinker teaching men to laugh over 
the troubles of the age and of all ages which 
had rejected the limited material outlook, and 
had gone forth into the wilderness and solitary 
places in order to find out the real secret of 
man s being and destiny. He thought that in 

1 68 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

the name of orthodoxy here was " a warning 
to men against feeling too strongly, thinking 
too deeply, lest they should find too much of 
the Almighty wisdom, lest they should be too 
conscious of the Almighty goodness." " He 
entered into the controversy," says his son 
rightly, " under disadvantages which he had 
encountered in no other cases. Mr. Mansel 
had treated his subject with the calmness and 
coolness of one who dissects an anatomical 
specimen. My father felt every cut of the 
lecturer s knife as if it had been employed upon 
his heart-strings. He did not realize and, 
indeed, he did not till long afterwards become 
fully aware, that the lecturer, bred up in the 
school of philosophy whose tenets he was 
expounding, and looking upon all outside it as 
mere folly, was pouring forth what were to 
him beliefs as genuine as my father s were 
to himself." 

This controversy extended over two years. 
It was accompanied by, and it intensified, all that 
conviction of an approaching crisis which was 
haunting Maurice s mind at this time. This 
conviction produced even a sense of thankful 
ness at the passing away of those who may have 
been saved from the evils to come. " It seems 
as if there was a gathering in of many," he 
wrote upon the death of a friend, " whom we 
fancy we want grievously. But I have such 
a sense of an approaching crisis as near at hand, 
that I cannot but thank GOD for all who have 

Frederick Denison Maurice 169 

been permitted to pass out of the world before 
it comes ; to help, I cannot doubt, in unknown 
ways, those who are passing through it." The 
whole affair gave him a " kind of staggering 
sensation as if everything was turned upside 
down." He had learnt from Augustine many 
years before, as he confessed to Mr. Ludlow, 
that the existence of evil was by its very nature 
an unintelligible thing ; that to attempt to 
reduce it to a law or principle was to commit 
a contradiction. That was not the question 
at issue. It was " whether the unintelligibility 
of evil or the omnipotence of GOD is a reason 
for not regarding Him as carrying on a war 
against evil, and for not expecting that in that 
war, evil will be vanquished ? " The Bible he 
interpreted as the book of "the wars of the 
LORD." " It does not define evil ; but it 
assumes evil." It assumes a warfare against 
evil. It sets forth a process by which evil 
can be overcome ; and it looks towards an 
end when evil will be altogether destroyed. 
"If I had taken advice," he asserts, "I should 
have let Mr. Mansel alone altogether. But 
there are monitors within which must be 
obeyed, whatever voices without contradict 

The controversy was an incident in the long 
warfare of a lifetime. The end seemed by no 
means assured. It drew upon him something 
of the obloquy which he had received in 
earlier efforts to attack opinions which were 



1 70 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

fashionable and established. He was to go 
forward almost alone. The Liberal thought of 
his day could rarely understand, and certainly 
never could follow, that combination of mystic 
apprehension and logical subtlety which gave 
Maurice his ultimate theology. More and 
more he came to appeal to the revelation of 
GOD, not as a destroyer, but as the right 
eous Judge of men : to recognize that there 
must be a great breaking-down of religious 
belief before His recognition and triumph 
could be assured : to apprehend, not with 
out foreboding, something of the results of 
that breaking -down in human conduct, as 
belief in the spiritual world faded into belief 
in mere earthly satisfaction, and this again 
passed into a kind of cosmic weariness. But 
he looked towards a change beyond the 
change, when there would come to this tired 
company a revelation, born from the heart 
of its dispair, of the unity upon whose 
foundation is established the pillars of all 
human society ; and a vision of the time, 
when, not in some far-off Paradise, but here 
upon the solid ground and under the wide 
sky, the earth shall be filled with the know 
ledge of GOD, as the waters cover the sea. 

Frederick Denison Maurice 



the early sixties a change was taking 
place in the thought of the time, as disturb 
ing and revolutionary as the social upheavals 
of twenty years before. The New Knowledge 
associated with the advance of the natural 
sciences was dazzling men s minds with the 
security of its triumphs, and throwing down 
a challenge to all accepted things. In 1859 
the Origin of Species was published, a work 
which bears the same high position in the world 
of speculation as the discovery of America 
by Columbus in the world of action. The 
year after, Huxley, in a memorable dis 
course, as an exponent of the new ideas, had 
shattered the fluent ignorance of Wilberforce 
at the British Association Meeting at Oxford. 
German criticism was gradually becoming 
familiar to English students. The old domi 
nance of authority was crumbling before the 
demand for freedom. The scene resembled 
nothing so much as the breaking-up of the 
icefields in the early summer. The noise of 
the shattering and violence disquieted the 

U1C bl 

172 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

minds of men. There were panics, as upon 
the publication of the Essays and Relieves ; 
when two Archbishops and twenty-five Bishops 
united to declare that the position advocated in 
the volume was incompatible with membership 
of the Church of England. There were appeals 
to the secular arm to enforce the assertion of 
authority. Alliances were hastily constructed 
between the old enemies who had fought 
so bitterly, High and Low Church, against 
the audacity of the invader. There were 
attempts, which the plain man outside re 
garded with astonishment, at actions which 
looked like personal persecution : in the 
ejection of Colenso from his bishopric, and 
the refusal to pay Jowett the salary which 
was due to him for his work as Greek Pro 
fessor. There were combined onslaughts of 
the Liberals against subscription to the Articles, 
and the recitation in public worship of the 
Athanasian Creed. The whole period was one 
of unrest and upheaval, with a loosening of the 
old moorings. The recognition of the necessity 
for change was accompanied by a profound dis 
trust of what this change might bring. 

Maurice was committed to a difficult task 
amid the perplexities of the time. He had 
scarcely any sympathy with the Broad Church 
development. He was a dogmatist to the 
backbone, and repudiated all advocacy of 
vague and watery creeds. He was compara 
tively ignorant in the region of criticism, and 

Frederic^ Denison Maurice 173 

profoundly distrustful of the critical results 
in their more startling developments. He 
contemplated with the extremest repugnance 
theories which are accepted by all men to-day 
as entirely natural and credible. For long he 
fought both for the test of subscription to 
the Articles, and for the Athanasian Creed. At 
the same time he had been repudiated by 
both the historic parties in the Church, and 
it was the Broad Church leaders who had 
been most inclined to support him in the 
hour of his own rejection. Above all, he 
would ever plunge in to defend the weaker 
side, to repudiate persecution, to emphasize 
the dangers and iniquities of mob-law. He 
stood very much alone in a time less ardent, 
and for a cause less generous, than that which 
in the later forties had affirmed the duty of 
the Church towards all who are desolate and 
oppressed. - 

Early in 1860, in an article upon the revision 
of the Prayer Book and the Act of Uniformity, 
he repudiated the attempt " to broaden the 
formularies " of the Church in order to 
include all who professed and called them 
selves Christians. " Do not let us surrender 
the one great witness which we possess," he 
pleaded, " that a nation consists of redeemed 
men, sons of GOD : that mankind stands, 
not in Adam but in CHRIST. " "Give up 
the Prayer Book to an Evangelical or semi- 
Evangelical Commission, and this witness 

174 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

will be eliminated from it by a thousand little 
alterations which will be accounted insignificant, 
but which will, in fact, render the English 
Church another Church altogether." Yet he 
would rather trust the living book to the 
" lowest Churchman " than to " those accom 
plished and tolerant persons, the representatives 
of the Broad Church." "The Liturgy has 
been to me a great theological teacher, a 
perpetual testimony that the FATHER, the SON, 
and the SPIRIT, the one GOD, Blessed for ever, 
is the Author of all life, freedom, unity to 
men. Why do I hear nothing of this from 
those who profess to reform it ? Why do 
they appear only to treat it as an old praying- 
machine which, in the course of centuries, 
gets out of order like other machines, and 
which should be altered according to the im 
proved mechanical notions of our time ? " 

Maurice, here as always, was reproached by 
Liberal thinkers for accepting as a standard 
of perfection the English Prayer Book and 
the Thirty-nine Articles. The reproach was 
unfair and untrue. Maurice was confronting 
a time of chaotic thought, with the Church 
divided into contending parties. He was 
convinced that the sixteenth century had 
come to a more trustworthy theology, in 
the prayers and affirmations which it had 
based upon all the Church s past history and 
experience, than any which could be huddled 
together by Synod or Convocation in the 


Frederick Denison Maurice 175 

nineteenth. " I, and others who think with 
me, are far safer under the protection of an 
Act of Parliament," he asserted, " than we 
should be if left to the mercy of an eccle 
siastical public opinion, dictated by the journals, 
executed by the episcopate. 

In this year he was appointed by the 
Crown to the Chapel of S. Peter s, Vere Street. 
The actual presentation was in the gift of 
Mr. William Cowper, First Commissioner of 
Works in Lord Palmerston s Government ; 
who later, as Mr. Cowper-Temple, was to 
attain unenviable immortality as the reputed 
inventor of a new religion. A hubbub of 
protest arose, led by the Record. An 
address was signed by a small number of 
clergymen, praying the Bishop of London 
not to institute him. A counter address, 
however, established conclusively the respect 
and devotion which Maurice had inspired. 
The signatures included Gladstone and 
Tennyson, men of almost every walk in 
life, three Bishops, as well as other lesser 
Church dignitaries. The terms of it recog 
nized wide differences and some opposition to 
elements in his teaching. " But as we trust," 
it concluded, " we are all united in our several 
vocations in the one object of promoting glory 
to GOD in the highest, peace upon earth and 
goodwill towards men, we hail with satisfaction 
the honour done to a fellow-labourer in the 
great cause." 

6 ^ 

1 7 6 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

In his reply Maurice outlines an apology 
for all his life. " I took refuge in the Church 
of England, in which I had not been educated, 
because, as I thought, it offered me an 
altogether different bond of fraternity from 
that of similarity in opinions. A society 
merely united in opinion had, it seemed to 
me, no real cohesion." " The Church of 
England confesses a FATHER who has revealed 
Himself in a SON ; a SON who took our nature, 
and became Man, and has redeemed men to be 
His children ; a SPIRIT who raises men to be 
spirits. She invites all to stand on that ground. 
She tells all so I read her formularies 
that they have no less right to claim their 
places in her as members of CHRIST than they 
have to claim their places in the nation as 
subjects of the Queen, and in their families as 
children of an earthly father and mother. This 
was a rock upon which I felt that I could 
rest. It was a foundation for a universal 
human society. If no such society existed, 
history seemed to me a hopeless riddle, human 
life very intolerable. If it did exist, it could 
not crush national life or family life, but must 
cherish and sustain both. It could stifle no 
thought ; it must thrive when it suffered 
persecution, grow weak whenever it inflicted 
persecution. It must be ready to embrace all 
persons. It could never seek to comprehend 
any sect. It must be the great instrument of 
healing the strife of classes within a nation. 


Frederick Denison Maurice 

It must proclaim CHRIST as the Deliverer and 
Head of all nations." 

Preaching at Vere Street, visits to the 
Workmen s Colleges in the various towns, 
meditation and writing upon the new changes 
in thought, occupied the beginnings of these 
days. Everywhere Maurice repudiated the 
common opinion that he was seeking a 
modified and weakened theology. " I do not 
plead for a Christianity," he asserted, "any less 
strong and definite than that which is held by 
the extremest section of the Hecordite school. 
I find fault with their Christianity only because 
it seems to me to have nothing to do with 
CHRIST, to be a mere religious system con 
structed by human hands, made up of crude, 
philosophical notions and popular superstitions, 
and fleeing from that revelation of the living 
and true GOD which I find set forth in Scrip 

The excitement of the Gssays and Reviews 
debate filled him with foreboding. He con 
fesses to Stanley that he cannot have much 
sympathy with the book generally, because 
" my only hope of resisting the devil-worship 
of the religious world lies in preaching the 
full revelation of GOD in CHRIST." But the 
efforts to suppress it, and the episcopal 
rally against it, appeared alike mischievous 
and futile. " The orthodoxy which covers 
our atheism must be broken through ; and 

2 A 

1 7 8 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

whether it is done by the Essays and 
or in any other way, seems to me a matter 
of indifference, though it is not a matter of 
indifference whether the Church shall be com 
mitted to a new persecution which must make 
the new reformation, when it comes, more 
complicated and terrible." 

The more he studied the book, the less 
he liked it. He found the task hopeless to 
extract any theology or humanity from the 
Sssays and Reviews. Yet he protested against 
the Memorial addressed to the Archbishop, 
demanding that definite action should be taken 
against its authors ; for he discerned in 
history "a clear and direct sentence of GOD 
upon all attempts to restrain the expression 
of thought and belief." The unbelief of the 
time and he knew something of it he found 
" more deep and more widely spread than 
those who complain of the Essays and Reviews 
have any notion." And one of its roots is 
laid in the notion that "all that Churchmen 
and believers in the Bible can do is, if they 
have power, to silence each other." Their un 
belief he found later to be " the unbelief of us 
all " ; as manifest in the anonymous invectives 
of Wilberforce in the Quarterly Review, as in 
the bewildered protests of the men them 
selves ; " discussing certain positions about 
GOD instead of believing in the GOD acting, 
speaking, and ruling whom the Scripture sets 
before us." 

Frederick Denis on Maurice 179 

Instead of meeting negation with negation, 
Maurice attempted with others, in a series of 
Tracts for Priests and People^ to preach some 
positive belief to the perplexed thought of 
the time. But in such a scheme he refused 
to join in the attack on the Athanasian Creed. 
" You think that to avoid the contradiction," 
he writes to Mr. Ludlow, " it must be sur 
rendered to those religious people who like 
to curse their brethren a little, but not so 
strongly as this Creed, according to their use 
of it, curses these brethren. If GOD so 
orders it, let the Creed go. But my work 
is to protest against the current opinion, and 
to use the old Creed for the worrying and 
torment of those who hold it." 

He deplored the " utter weariness and hope 
lessness about the Scriptures which we see 
everywhere." He looked with foreboding at 
the course of the impeachment, as it was carried 
through the various Courts of Appeal. He 
was kindled to indignation against the rabble 
of country clergymen who voted against the 
grant of adequate salary to Jowett for his work 
as Regius Professor of Greek. " The effect of 
all persecutions," he asserted, "is to endorse 
denials, to extinguish no heresy." 

The great Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy , 
the work of a lifetime of labour, was published 
at the end of 1861 ; the Tracts for Priests 
and People six months later. In the first, 
he reveals his conception of a history of 

11C 1CV< 

180 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

philosophy as the history of the thought 
of the great men of all time ; feeling after a 
knowledge of GOD, and refusing to be content 
with any lesser search. In the second, he 
reveals the search attained, in a faith and 
conviction which for him was the end of 
the journey. " The Name of the Trinity, the 
FATHER, the SON, and the HOLY GHOST, 
is, as the Fathers and Schoolmen said con 
tinually, the Name of the Infinite Charity, 
the Perfect Love, the full vision of which 
is that Beatific Vision for which saints and 
angels long, even while they dwell in it." 
" To lose this, to be separated from this, to 
be cut off from the Name in which we live 
and move and have our being, is everlasting 

From such high visions he is compelled to 
come down to the solid earth again. 

" The Essays and H(ev iews debate 
Begins to tell on the public mind, 
And Colenso s words have weight." 

So Browning wrote of these distant days. 
The passage from the one controversy to the 
other was without break. Colenso s words 
had very little weight with Maurice, who 
was utterly perplexed by the Bishop s mathe 
matical mind, and by the queer kind of dis 
torted humour which he drew from his 
speculations on the Pentateuch. But ten 

Frederick Denison Maurice 1 8 1 

years before, when all men were attacking 
Maurice, Colenso had plunged chivalrously 
into the conflict, and publicly dedicated his 
book to one who was being branded before 
the world as a heretic. Maurice found him 
self torn between repugnance to the opinions 
and loyalty to the friend. He could not see 
how the man could keep the bishopric with 
such confessed beliefs. On the other hand, 
he utterly condemned the machinations of 
Wilberforce to eject Colenso from the 
Church. He shared to the full the distrust 
of Wilberforce, entertained by those who 
thought they saw in that master of diplomacy 
the very incarnation of the spirit of the mob, 
and its tendency to persecute all unpopular 

The conversations between the philosopher 
and the critic are not without a certain pathetic 
humour. "I asked him," says Maurice, 
" whether he did not think Samuel must have 
been a horrid scoundrel if he forged a story 
about the I AM speaking to Moses, and to 
my unspeakable surprise and terror he said, 
c No. Many good men had done such things. 
He might not mean more than Milton meant." 1 
There was worse to come. " He even threw 
out the notion that the Pentateuch might be a 
poem ; and when I said that to a person who 
had ever asked himself what a poem is, the 
notion was simply ridiculous, he showed that 
his idea of poetry is that it is something which 

nis iae< 

1 8 2 Leaders of the Church 1 800 - 1 900 

is not historical. And his idea of history is 
that it is a branch of arithmetic." Maurice 
thought the Bishop utterly wrong. These 
speculations opened abysses which he did not 
care to contemplate. Colenso approached the 
whole subject with a lack of reverence, and a 
kind of cheerful delight in propounding strange 
conundrums concerning the history of the 
Jews. But the statement that the conscience 
of most people would demand that a theologian 
with such opinions should resign, was met by 
the Bishop with some slight words suggesting 
that the conscience of most people was also 
surprised at Maurice s position as an incumbent 
of the Church. Such a suggestion determined 
Maurice to resign himself, and to start life 
anew at fifty-seven. "People will not hear 
me," he explained. " My words they call 
strange and mystical. If I can awaken them 
by an act, which they will also think strange 
and foolish, to give heed to men who can 
command their ears and hearts, I shall be too 

He found the position intolerable, for 
he was supposed to be partly talking of the 
Old Testament as the guide to all moral 
and political wisdom, and partly holding with 
Colenso that it is a book of fictions and 
forgeries. He was even moved to contemplate 
the possibility of a negative Liberalism itself 
adopting persecution when it attained domin 
ance. But the Bishop of London (Tait) refused 

Frederic^ Denison Maurice 1 83 

to let him go. Messages poured in urging him 
to reconsider his decision. And finally, on an 
appeal to personal honour in connexion with 
the Colenso case, he agreed to withdraw. 

The fierceness of the main controversy refused 
to be abated. In 1863, Pusey and his friends 
were again attacking Jowett, and Maurice 
hastened to the defence. The controversy was 
interesting as provoking a letter from Newman, 
who had been so long silent, explaining the 
contention in the famous Tract XC. All 
Maurice s efforts were now directed towards 
preventing the Church from expelling beyond its 
borders the new Liberal school of theologians. 
The appeal, it must be confessed, was to the 
legal and secular protection. " I am sure," 
he wrote, "that you will find every sect 
narrower and more cruel than the Church." 
To that Church he had come out of such 
a sect a sect which had considered itself, 
and rightly considered itself, more enlightened 
and liberal than most of its brethren. "We 
have been repeating phrases and formularies," 
he cried. " We have not entered into them, 
but only have accepted certain reasonings 
and proofs against them. Now they arc 
starting up and looking at us as if they 
were alive, and we are frightened at the 
sight." " We do want," is a later message 
to a distressed correspondent, "one and all of 
us, to be brought down, to learn, as you say, 
not how we may define GOD (define GOD 1 

184 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

Repeat the words to yourself and think how 
terrible they are) but that He is, and that 
He knows us though we know Him ever so 
little, and that He has been and is guiding 
us by strange ways out of our darkness into 
His light." 

Yet he would have nothing to do with any 
re-writing of the Bible ; either of the Old Testa 
ment, as in Colenso s whimsical speculations, 
or of the Gospel stories, as in the work of 
Renan, which had come with such a fascina 
tion to so many men and women of the 
time. He contended that the Exodus was true 
history, and the Book of Genesis, in Pusey s 
expression, the " Divine Psalm of creation. * 
He rejected such forensic arguments as those 
in Paley s Evidences^ against which he had 
been fighting all his days. " I cannot help 
thinking," he writes to Kingsley, " that he has 
done much to demoralize Cambridge, and to 
raise up a set of divines who turned out a bag- 
infidel on Sundays to run him down, fixing 
exactly where he shall run, and being exceed 
ingly provoked if he finds any holes and 
corners which they do not happen to know 

Maurice was not in the least troubled by the 
advance of the new scientific speculation ; 
perhaps because he had never accepted the 
argument for the existence of GOD, demonstrated 
from the work of nature. The natural world 
indeed stood somewhat outside his interests. 

Frederick Denison Maurice 1 8 5 

He could respond but imperfectly to its beauty, 
and discerned no Spiritual Presence in the 
wide ocean, and the living air, and the light 
of setting suns. And he was unperplexed by 
its evidence of law and order and the rigorous 
sequence of change, which were exciting in 
the minds of so many a doubt concerning 
any past disturbance of that order. He put 
aside, somewhat airily, the question of miracles, 
dissenting altogether from the ordinary defini 
tion of a miracle. "I don t confess so many 
miracles, not a hundredth part so many," he 
wrote to Mr. R. H. Hutton, "in the flight 
of the Israelites from Egypt as in the flight 
of the French from Moscow." The history 
of the Exodus he interpreted as miraculous 
in the sense that " it is referred directly to GOD 
and not to intermediate agents." " That is 
just what I want it for, as an explanation 
of the flight from Moscow, and of all other 
flight which I read of in The Times and 

Renan s Life of Jesus he was reading with 
a deepening disgust. At first he had accepted 
it as a plausible and graceful falsehood ; but 
afterwards he came to revolt against it as 
something unhealthy and pernicious. " Renan s 
Jesus," he writes, " is a charming Galilaean, 
with a certain sympathy for beautiful scenery, 
and an affectionate tenderness for the peasants 
who follow him. But he is provoked to 
violence, impatience, base trickery, as soon 

2 B 


1 86 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

as he finds his mission as a reformer un 
successful. A Frenchman bred amid pious 
frauds calls him the most delightful and 
wonderful of men ; who practises innocent 
artifices, resorts to thaumaturgy, but when he 
does resort to it is guilty of wilful imposture 
beside the grave of his friend. We in England 
should say he was a horrible liar and audacious 
blasphemer." He finds the book " detestable, 
morally as well as theologically." " Renan 
takes the supernatural out of the Gospels," he 
asserts. " He cannot take it out of his own 
life. I say of his Jesus : Incredulus odi" 

The famous Privy Council Judgment of 
1864, in which "hell was dismissed with 
costs" by Lord Westbury in suave and ironical 
phrases, gave rise to the last and fiercest 
of Maurice s struggles. The refusal to expel 
from the Church those who declined to affirm 
the hopeless and unending torments of the 
wicked, excited something like a panic. Men 
were brought together who had fought each 
other for nearly half a century. High Church 
and Low Church united to draw up a Decla 
ration of Faith, repudiating opinions which 
seemed to them to undermine the foundation 
of all the accepted morality. Everything that 
Maurice most hated was here united in one 
common cause : the domination of mob and 
especially of clerical mob law ; the attempt 
to bully and persecute a minority ; the panic 
of a crowd at seeing new things ; the full 

Frederick Denison Maurice 187 

exercise of the party system, which he 
thought was openly inspired by the devil. 
And all were concentrated upon a defence of 
the teaching of future rewards and punish 
ments, as being the only method through 
which the poor could be coerced into aban 
donment of the deadly sins. He flared out 
in correspondence in The Times with Pusey 
against the whole affair. The controversy 
became more and more heated, until his pro 
tagonist withdrew with the dry declaration 
that he and Maurice worshipped different 
Gods. In his reply, Maurice declined to 
repudiate the challenge. The new Declaration 
of Faith, he said, means to young clergymen, 
poor curates, poor incumbents : " Sign, or we 
will turn the whole force of religious public 
opinion against you. Sign, or we will starve 
you. Look at the Greek Professor. You see 
we CAN take that vengeance on those whom 
we do not like. You see that we are willing 
to take it, and that no considerations of faithful 
and devoted service will hinder us/ " This 
is what is called signing for the love of GOD." 
"I accept," he deliberately affirmed, "Dr. 
Pusey s own statement, tremendous as it is. 
I say that the god whom we are adjured to 
love under these penalties is not the GOD of 
whom I have read in the Canonical Scrip 
tures ; not the GOD who declares that He 
abhors robbery for burnt offering." 

Of such strong stuff was controversy com- 

1 8 8 Leaders of the Church 1 800 - 1 900 

posed, in the days when men felt that the 
triumph of the one side or the other was 
a triumph of life or of death. 

Maurice still found difficulty in expounding 
his position to the unphilosophical, to all those 
who could make no kind of conception of 
the meaning of a timeless condition. The 
universal opinion made eternity a very, very 
long time ; because, except for those who 
have challenged the foundation of the world 
and felt it move for a moment under their 
feet, there can be no meaning in the appre 
hension of a Being unconditioned by time. 
Time and Space, for the majority are real 
solid enduring things, and any attempt to 
prove them otherwise is moonshine. The 
ordinary Broad Churchman of Maurice s day 
thought that eternity meant a long condition 
of punishment for the wicked, at the con 
clusion of which their sins might be expiated, 
and their sufferings ended. The ordinary 
Evangelical Churchman thought that eternity 
meant a long condition of punishment for the 
wicked which would never terminate, but 
continue through days and years and cen 
turies for ever and ever. 

To the plain man Maurice must belong 
either to the one or the other. It is said that 
part of his popularity among the working 
classes was due to the belief that he wished 
to make things easier for them in the next 
world. This was an acceptance of an inter- 

Frederick Denison Maurice 189 

pretation of his doctrine which would have 
filled him with a kind of bewildered horror. 
" We have reduced the Gehenna of the Bible 
into a heathen Tartarus," he declares, in a 
protest in which he repudiates both these con 
ceptions. " We have turned the Heaven of 
the Bible into something less real, less hopeful, 
than a heathen Elysium." If eternal life 
" means only a life, or rather happiness, pro 
longed through an indefinite series of future 
ages," he asked, " is it not utterly strange and 
monstrous language to talk of that life as 
manifested, and manifested by the Man of 
Sorrows ? " 

He fell back on the true historic antithesis 
between temporal things which are subject 
to the incidents of change and of growth and 
of decay, and eternal things which are subject 
to no such incidents. And the eternal he found 
here or nowhere ; now, as in all the past and in 
all the future. "When eternity is merely a vast 
interminable future," he asserts, " it swallows 
up everything. Yet there is no joy in con 
templating it. People shrink from our negative 
heaven only one degree less than from our 
hell. They seem different parts of the same 
vague abyss. Life in one sense is absent from 
both. Death they think rules in both." 

He found himself more and more isolated, 
" seeming ridiculous to all disciples of Jowett, 
a heretic, and a wilful liar to all disciples of 
Pusey." The prayer that he might never form 

1 90 Leaders of the Church 1 800 - 1 900 

a party of followers had been abundantly ful 

He distrusted Ecclesiastical Courts. He 
hated the appeal to the spiritual arm. He was 
prepared to spend his last energies in resisting 
the separation between Church and State. . He 
openly scorned " a thing called a Church, con 
sisting of a Metropolitan and a Synod, a poor 
imitation of a Popedom, which is to set aside 
the glorious traditions of the English nation 
which were grounded upon the Old Testament, 
which are the deliverance from priestly tribunals 
and a king-bishop." He revoked his old appeal 
for Subscription, whose fate had been sealed, he 
thought, by Disraeli s scorn of the new know 
ledge amid the delirious approval of the clergy ; 
in his famous speech at Oxford upon " Is 
man an ape or an angel ? " But at the 
same time he was every day more convinced 
that " theology is what our age is crying for, 
even when it thinks that it is crying to be rid 
of theology." " Those who talk of leaving 
men to their religious instincts," he said in 
prophetic words, "or their perceptions of 
morality, are preparing a fresh succession of 
burdens for us and our children." 

He was filled with foreboding as he contem 
plated many of the signs of the time, especially 
the growing rift between those who believed in 
the new freedom and those who clung to the old 
Faith. " The thought that the greatest effort 
of those who speak most for freedom," he 

Frederick Denison Maurice 191 

wrote to Mr. Ludlow, " is to throw off the 
witness for GOD as the Emancipator which was 
born in the times of old, and that those who 
cling most to the Bible regard Him as a tyrant, 
sometimes overwhelms me." 

He is more and more appalled at the atheism 
of a religious world which thought that GOD 
has nothing to do with nations and politics, 
" which should be left to such men as Metter- 
nich and Louis Napoleon" ; from which 
" nothing but a baptism of fire can deliver 
us." He refuses to accept Stanley s belief that 
the improved temper of the age promised a 
quiet and happy solution of all controversies. 
He is convinced that these and other indica 
tions foretold the approach of a great conflict 
and crisis in the Church. He looks back over 
the old days with a sense of a goodness and 
mercy that has followed him through all. The 
vision of the young men at Oxford "whose 
faces are so full of promises of good and 
possibilities of evil," sets him longing that he 
could tell them " a little of the mystery that 
is about them," and the heights and depths of 
human things. 

Towards the end, as from the beginning, he 
will protest the conviction, which only deepened 
with the passing of the years ; " the Creed, 
the LORD S Prayer, and the Ten Command 
ments yes, the Ten Commandments, in spite 
of all modern theories to the contrary seem 
to me the true witnesses of a universal fellow- 

iu me i 

192 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

ship as well as of a national fellowship ; the 
Sacraments the pledges of its reality through 
all ages past and to come." 

It is autumn and calm weather, with some 
thing of the tranquillity which has been so long 
delayed, and light and autumn sunshine before 
the end. In 1866 the Professorship of Moral 
Philosophy was vacant at Cambridge. It was 
the one solitary piece of preferment which 
Maurice would have cared to accept. He was 
elected in a triumph which, as Kingsley wrote, 
" could not have been more complete. My heart 
is as full as a boy s." So in the evening of the 
day he was in part removed from the tumult of 
controversy, engaged in the work of teaching 
under fairer conditions than in the restless 
and confused society of London. He could 
turn the great powers of his mind more entirely 
to the ultimate things : to examination of 
the origin and nature of the Conscience, 
that mysterious inner voice of protest and 
appeal : to the meaning of a Social Morality : 
to the revelation of the life of the world. 
" More than in any former time we must begin 
everything from GOD," was the unchanging 
faith, " and see everything terminate in 
Him." He believed that " the most earnest 
unbelief of the day " was " a protest against the 
unbelief to which the Church has yielded." 
He was convinced that Englishmen were more 
likely to be led back into faith by the political 
road than by the German metaphysical road. 


Frederick Denison Maurice 193 

He wrote letters in the Daily News upon 
" Church and State," strongly repudiating any 
idea of work towards separation, asserting that 
a union of Church and State is implied in 
the existence ot each, and is necessary for the 
protection of moral freedom. He called aloud 
at times for something of that old fire which 
alone could consume the sins of the world ; the 
fire which nearly thirty years before he had 
thought should burn up all Borrowdale and 
Derwentwater. " Unless we are baptized in a 
fire like that which burned in S. Louis or in 
Calvin, I don t think the Church or the State 
will ever shake off the trammels which hold 
fast the one or the other." 

He took increasing interest in the actual 
work of reform : supporting female suffrage ; 
investigating in the painful work of the Royal 
Commission on Contagious Diseases ; refusing 
to give up the Catechism in controversy about 
National Education. " Under the name of 
progress," he prophesied, in an assertion 
which time has not disproved, " we seem to 
be drifting back into the old Bell and 
Lancaster notion of cramming a number of 
children into a schoolroom, and then cramming 
them with a number of fragments of informa 
tion part labelled religious, part secular 
which, if they should be able to digest this 
hard morsel, was to be their education." He 
was never tired of quoting the spirit of Dar 
win s investigations as a lesson and model 

2 c 

194 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

for Churchmen. He was filled with anxiety 
at the splendid materialism of English life, 
as wealth poured like water into its streets. 
He thought sometimes that " the slow disease of 
money-getting and money-worship, by which we 
have been so long tormented, must end in death." 

Abroad he saw the tremendous shock of war, 
in a vision full of pity and terror. He thinks 
France deserved all her losses. He believes 
that the growth of a lust for conquest will mean 
in the victorious a loss of moral tone. " My 
horror of Empire is so great and general," he 
wrote at this time. 

There were memories of the old interest, 
as the ground-swell of the long theological 
struggle of the mid-century sank slowly down 
ward into a kind of quiet. In a final word on 
the Athanasian Creed, he recognized that " it is 
pretty sure to be banished from our service 
now, and I wish that it should." But he wishes 
also to explain " what I have meant by reading 
it while I have read it." The Ritualist dis 
turbances had replaced the old fight against 
Liberalism, and once more he was protesting 
against the attempts of fanatics to put down 
a minority by force, or to appeal to the power 
of the crowd in the work of persecution. He 
would sometimes wonder what would be the end 
of this day s business : though now, in the 
evening, it was coming to suffice him to know 
that the day would end, and that then the 
end would be known. 

Frederick Denison Maurice 195 

In lecturing at the University, later in work 
as Vicar of S. Edward s at Cambridge (a 
parish without a stipend, whose charge he 
gladly accepted), the time slipped peacefully 
by. He liked to talk to the classes of little 
children, and to gather visitors among the 
Undergraduates. He would speak of the long 
days past and the faith which had sustained 
him through them all. " I have laid a great 
many addled eggs in my time," he said one 
day in rather a sad tone, " but I think I see 
a connexion through the whole of my life 
that I have only lately begun to realize. The 
desire for unity, and the search after unity 
both in the nation and in the Church, has 
haunted me all my days." 

" His hair was now of a silvery white," 
writes his son, " very ample in quantity, fine 
and soft as silk. The rush of his start for a 
walk had gone ; his movements had, like his 
life, become quiet and measured. At no time 
had there been so much beauty about his face 
and figure. There was now partly from 
manner, partly from face, partly from a char 
acter that seemed expressed in all a beauty 
which seemed to shine round him, and was 
very commonly observed by those among 
whom he was." 

Death came to him gradually at the last, in 
a slow failing of an over-worked mind and 
body. The early months of 1872 showed him 
in a continual growing weakness. At Easter 

196 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

he was resigning S. Edward s, growing weaker 
day by day and having the experience of great 
suffering. " Though I have not S. Edward s," 
he said, " I hope I may give myself more to 
the work of the hospital." At another time he 
said, " If I may not preach here I may preach 
in other worlds." He delighted in the reading 
aloud to him of the Book of Revelation and 
of Job, " the books most loved by the poor." 
He was continually speaking with horror of the 
divisions of the Church. Nights of suffering 
he would spend in prayer. The reproach 
which had haunted him all his days increased 
with the periods of bodily weakness. The sense 
of unsatisfactory work, of sin so strong upon 
him, of purposes baffled and so often turned 
aside, impressed the mournful contrast between 
the ideal and the reality. The conviction 
of unprofitable service here at the end fell 
back upon the cry of Pascal, the universal 
human cry out of the deep : " I have fled 
from Thee : I have deserted Thee : I have 
crucified Thee : I have left Thee : O that 
Thou mayest not leave me for ever." 

The gloom of the Valley of the Shadow 
deepened towards the close. But there was 
light at the last. " During the night of Easter 
Sunday he suffered greatly, and was in great 
anguish of mind, asking that those around him 
would pray that these nervous fears might be 
taken away." Later he said, " I have two 
voices, but I cannot silence the second voice as 

Frederick Denison Maurice 197 

Tennyson did." It was said to him, "The LORD 
is my light, and my salvation ; whom then 
shall I fear : the LORD is the strength of my 
life ; of whom then shall I be afraid ? " He 
said, " That is what I wanted." Later he 
asked for the third Psalm, and towards morn 
ing for a part of the Litany. " I am not going 
to death," he said, " I am going into life." 

Towards the close " he began talking very 
rapidly, very indistinctly . . . about the Com 
munion being offered for all nations and peoples, 
about its being women s work to teach men its 

" He went on speaking, but more and more 
indistinctly, till suddenly he seemed to make 
a great effort to gather himself up, and after 
a pause he said, slowly and distinctly, c The 
knowledge of the love of GOD the blessing of 
GOD Almighty, the FATHER, the SON, and the 
HOLY GHOST, be amongst you amongst us 
and remain with us for ever. He never 
spoke again. 

They buried him at Highgate, where already 
rested father, sister, mother ; in that hill 
cemetery which stands high above the city, 
and sees all its striving but as a little smoke, 
drifting across a quiet sky. He had lived 
in that whirlpool of tossing lives ; he had 
laboured for it, and loved it, and worn out 
his frail body in its service, until the fire 
that was within him had burnt through the 

198 Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

tenement in which it could no longer be 
confined. There he lies, while the world 
changes, and mankind sweeps forward in its 
strange journey, through the courses of time. 
Many at his death recognized the withdrawal 
of a power from the earth, and mourned the 
loss of such strong service and devotion. But 
to those who had loved him, the end appeared 
like the going over of one who had helped to 
guard many weaker pilgrims from all the 
dangers of the way. " { My sword I give to him 
that shall succeed me in my Pilgrimage. My marks 
and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me 
that I ha^pe fought His battles, who now will be my 
Rewarded . . . So he passed over, and all the 
Trumpets sounded for him on the other side." 

Frederick Denison Maurice 199 



1V/TAURICE was below middle height, but 
with a dignity of bearing which re 
moved all sense of smallness. His habits 
gave the impression of an abundance of 
nervous energy. He would start his walk 
with a little run, move violently about the 
room while dictating his books, attack the fire 
with a poker or clutch pillows in an uncon 
scious embrace ; all the while pouring forth a 
continuous stream of words. He habitually 
overworked, and suffered consequent nervous 
collapses, with those deadening fits of depres 
sion which are the marks of an overstrained 
nervous system. He took no exercise except 
the walking to and from his engagements, 
and few holidays unless ordered away by the 

He was oppressed through life by shyness 
and an exaggerated humility. The first in time 
became mitigated by the affection of friends 
and admirers who would accept his invita 
tions to " Prophetic Breakfasts " or attend 
his evening Bible classes ; but it never quite 

2OO Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

disappeared. The second persisted to the end. 
Only at intervals, and when strongly moved, 
all this reticence was thrown off, and he would 
suddenly appear as if transformed by the great 
ness of his emotion. "There were times," 
says his son, " when he could make his words 
sting like a lash and burn like a hot iron." 
" When his wrath was excited by something 
mean or cruel, he would begin in a most violent 
manner to rub together the palms of his hands. 
He appeared at such moments to be entirely 
absorbed in his own reflections, and utterly 
unconscious of the terrible effect which the 
fierce look of his face and the wild rubbing of 
his hands produced upon an innocent bystander. 
A lady who often saw him thus says that she 
always expected sparks to fly from his hands, 
and to see him bodily on fire." 

He was a man possessing through life the 
vision of the unseen, and dwelling in intimate 
communion with the things of the spirit. 
GOD was always in his thought. " Whenever 
he woke in the night," says his wife, " he 
was always praying." And in the very early 
morning, " I often pretended to be asleep," 
is her testimony, " lest I should disturb him 
while he was praying out his heart to GOD." 
Often he would pass whole nights in prayer. 

The household was of the simplest. Maurice, 
unconcerned with the things of the body, was 
entirely indifferent to physical comfort. He 
protested continually against indiscriminate 



Frederick Denison Maurice 201 

almsgiving ; but no beggar went from his 
doors empty away. In practice he carried to 
an extreme point his own fasting on all the 
days prescribed by the Church. " Not infre 
quently on Good Friday and other days he 
palpably suffered from his almost entire 
abstinence from food, and at other times 
during the year he used to exercise the most 
curious ingenuity in trying to avoid taking 
food without allowing his doing so to be 

Dignity, kindliness, gentleness, distinguished 
all his doings. He had none of the noisy and 
genial manners which are the fashion in the 
new school of Christian Social reformers. He 
shrunk timidly away from the slightest rebuff. 
If anything went wrong, he took the blame on 
himself. " There was a continual tendency to 
take the heaviest load on his own shoulders 
and to assign the lightest to others, all the 
while pretending and really persuading himself 
that he was not doing his fair share." He 
exercised a quite remarkable influence upon 
all who were sensible to unselfish goodness, 
especially simple persons, servants, children, 
country villagers. There were, however, 
exceptions. Many found him difficult, and 
repudiated his lead after having worked with 
him for some time. 

His cousin, who was brought up with him, 
gives a testimony to a friendship with one of 
no ordinary standard of purity and charity. 

2 D 

2O2 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

" I had great opportunities," he said, " of 
watching his early character and progress, and 
1 rejoice to have an occasion of repeating now 
what I often said then, that during that time 
I never knew him to commit even an ordinary- 
fault or apparently to entertain an immoral 
idea. He was the gentlest, most docile and 
affectionate of creatures. But he was equally 
earnest in what he believed to be right, and 
energetic in the pursuit of his views. It may 
be thought an extravagant assertion, a mere 
formal tribute to a deceased friend and com 
panion, but after a long and intimate experience 
of the world I can say with all sincerity that 
he was the most saint-like individual I ever 
met CnRisT-like, if I dare use the word." 
And long years afterwards " he was the only 
saint I ever knew," was the statement of a 
well-known figure in letters and society. 

One who had learnt to reverence him 
from the earliest years has told me of the 
impression made on a child of twelve by his 
preaching, with the voice thrilling through 
the darkened chapel ; conveying less by 
words, then but dimly understood, than by 
the impression of a personality, the revelation 
of a kind of intimate intercourse with the 
spiritual world. She recalls his kindness to 
little children, in walks with him through the 
London dawn to the early Communion service ; 
with the eager child s cross-examination upon 
the insoluble problems of the world, and the 


Frederick Denis on Maurice 203 

attempt of Maurice always to stimulate thought 
rather than to provide cut and dried answers ; 
to make people think for themselves. The 
enthusiasm of the girls at Queen s College for 
him was unbounded. It was the greatest 
honour of all to be chosen to sit by his side and 
help in the reports which he was writing. To 
one who had the measure of his unworldliness 
it seemed that if he would only hold the baby 
in his arms, the child would be better all its 
life afterwards. " He appeared to be looking 
straight up into Heaven," is the remembrance 
of another, "and to be seeing it open." 

With all this intense seriousness and spiritual 
vision, there was a large capacity for quiet fun 
and laughter. I have seen humorous verses 
written when quite a boy on the tea-meetings 
and classes of his sisters at Frenchay, and later 
similar poems refusing invitations to children s 
tea-parties, written for his own boys. This 
humour is almost entirely absent from his 
published writings. It is there transmuted 
into a kind of satire, often fierce and wound 
ing. Undoubtedly this change has given a 
wrong impression of the man. And, with 
this humour, was an intense capacity for kind 
liness and for affection. Nothing was too 
small for him to devote to it his time and 
thought. Any one in distress was assisted. 
There are stories of revealing interest ; as, 
once, when accosted by a woman in the 
street, Maurice turned away from her with 

204 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

harsh words, but immediately afterwards was 
ashamed of his repugnance, returned to her 
and remonstrated with her in gentleness, im 
ploring her to abandon the life she was leading. 
Or at another time, being anxious to assist a 
blind bedridden woman in an underground 
kitchen to whom he was accustomed to read 
the Bible, he purchased one of the large bed- 
pillows which she made for her livelihood, 
and bore it home triumphantly through the 
streets, to the astonishment of the passers-by. 
He dedicates his book on "Social Morality" 
to his two sons, " who have taught me," he 
confesses, " how poor, helpless and useless the 
life of a father on earth would be, if there 
were not a Father in Heaven." 

Many of his contemporaries who refused to 
accept his philosophy, and thought his theology 
vague and misty, bore high tribute to the 
greatness of his character. "He is indeed 
a spiritual splendour," wrote Gladstone, " to 
borrow the phrase of Dante about S. Dominic." 
Yet " his intellectual constitution," is the states 
man s confession, " has long been, and still is 
to me, something of an enigma." " I never 
understand," said Archdeacon Allen, "what 
Mr. Maurice says, but I am never with him 
without being the better for it." " I am very 
sorry about Maurice s death," wrote Jowett 
at the end. " He was misty and confused, and 
none of his writings appear to me worth 
reading. But he was a great man with a 


r\ \ o* M 4-*a* 

Frederick Denison Maurice 205 

disinterested nature, and he always stood by 
any one who appeared to be oppressed." And 
an incident is told me of the time when 
Maurice was announced to be resigning his 
chapel at Vere Street. Jowett, after pausing 
on a walk to hear a philosopher of a more 
successful and less scrupulous type, who was 
destined to high position in the Church of 
England, lamenting " poor Maurice s indiscre 
tions," remarked tersely to Maurice s son 
when they had parted, " I would rather be 
your father than that gentleman." " Shall 
I dwell in the house of cedar," Stanley wrote 
to Maurice at the same time, "while the ark 
of the LORD abides in tents ? " And there is 
a mass of correspondence still existing which 
came to him from the most varied sources, 
urging him not to persist in his determina 
tion to resign. 

In examining his published writings, it is 
important to remember the intense effort 
which Maurice always made to put himself 
at the point of view that he most disliked 
and rejected. Just as he believed that all 
honest doubts were sacred, so he believed that 
all honest convictions were to be respected. 
Thus he appears as an almost blind champion 
of Royalty and Aristocracy. Yet he always 
insisted on his humble origin as a thing of 
which he might almost be said to be proud. 
When he stood for a Professorship at Oxford 
and was beaten, he said, " They wanted a 

206 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

scholar and a gentleman, and I am neither." 
He had nothing of the courtier in him, nor 
the anxiety for social advancement which so 
often manifests itself amongst those to whom 
such things should appear but as a little dust 
of praise. But, although he felt a sub 
stantial faith and satisfaction in distinctively 
plebeian virtues, he was yet convinced of the 
advantage of an aristocracy and a monarchy. 
He disliked John Bright, partly, no doubt, 
for his opposition to the Factory Acts, but 
also very largely for that sweeping and bitter 
denunciation of aristocracy which Maurice felt 
to be a sign of incapacity to enter into the 
feelings of others. He also undoubtedly 
possessed a strong sense of order, which he 
connected with the arrangements of classes, 
and a sense that each should realize its own 
duties. This accounts in part for the sus 
picion and repulsion, which he felt more 
powerfully in early manhood than in later 
life, towards any attempts of young noble 
men to play the democrat. This was not 
exactly a suspicion of their sincerity, for the 
sternest protest against such utterances were 
addressed to a man whose sincerity he could 
never have doubted Lord Goderich, now 
Marquis of Ripon. 

This same desire to realize the opposite 
point of view to his own, and to criticize his 
own point of view, was shown in his apparent 
readiness to find fault with the clergy, and to 


Frederick Denison Maurice 207 

accept harsh words concerning them. It was 
this impulse, carried into the fiercest courses 
of polemic, when under the stress of excite 
ment most men abandon such generosity to 
opponents, that often confused the issues, and 
made those controverting with him think that 
he was weakening in his main contention ; 
or even, in certain cases, that he was praising 
things in their principles with a deliberate and 
insulting irony. 

Maurice was, indeed, a remarkable combina 
tion of complexity and simplicity. Intellectual 
persons generally found him hard to under 
stand. It was necessary to begin at the 
beginning, to appreciate the one or two fun 
damental ideas upon which he has based his 
conception of the world. When these were 
apprehended, the rest flowed forward naturally, 
and was largely an explanation of these ideas, 
and of their application to the particular dis 
turbance of the day. In character, although 
entirely simple and truthful, he was complex 
in this sense, that you might know him for 
a long time without discovering the various 
sides to him. Many who were only familiar 
with his gentleness and quietness were bewil 
dered at the sudden outbursts of the wrath 
and fire which would sometimes come upon 
him. Others who had only read of him as 
a violent and almost savage controversalist, 
were astonished when they discovered the 
sweetness and humility of the man himself. 

208 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

He believed in growth and development, 
although he belonged essentially to the age 
before the conception of evolution had changed 
the whole vision of the world. " He taught 
history," writes one of his old students at 
Queen s College, "by leading us to see how 
GOD had been guiding the nations, and in spite 
of their faults and failures guiding them to 
nobler developments." When lecturing on 
the American War of Independence he would 
speak of the impossibility of "making" a 
constitution. Just as every human being is 
given a constitution which is the result of 
natural growth, so the nation must expand 
and develop along appointed ways. " He 
was quite ready to recognize that America 
could do very well without a king, though he 
believed that here the monarchy was helpful." 

He was a thinker, a writer, and a preacher ; 
perhaps greatest as the last. To Maurice 
preaching was of the nature of prophecy. 
"The word of the LORD came unto me, 
saying," seemed to be the initial and stimu 
lating energy, which scattered all the shyness 
and humility, and drove him, with mind up 
lifted beyond all temporal and visible horizons, 
to proclaim the message of the everlasting 
Gospel. Many testimonies remain of those 
who, visiting Lincoln s Inn chapel or S. Peter s 
in Vere Street, were arrested by the conscious 
ness here of some spiritual force and power 
different from that of the teachers and 


Frederick Denison Maurice 209 

preachers around him. There was none of 
Newman s particular, thrilling simplicity and 
charm, or of Liddon s high sustained rhetoric. 
The argument was often difficult to follow ; and 
many afterwards retained a far more general 
impression of the man as a thing inspired, 
than of the nature of the inspiration. But 
all were impressed with a kind of atmosphere 
of strong energy and conviction, and a 
burden laid upon this man which straitened 
him till it were accomplished. " It is about 
forty years since my most intimate friend," 
(Walter Bagehot,) wrote Mr. R. H. Hutton, 
" took me to hear one of the afternoon sermons 
of the Chaplain of the Inn. I went, and it 
is hardly too much to say that the voice and 
manner of the preacher, his voice and manner 
in the reading-desk at least as much as in 
the pulpit, have lived in my memory ever 
since as no other voice and manner have 
ever lived in it. The half-stern, half-pathetic 
emphasis with which he gave the words of 
the confession : c And there is no help in us, 
throwing the weight of meaning on to the 
last word, and the rising of his voice into 
a higher plane of hope as he passed away 
from the confession of weakness to the 
invocation of GOD S help, struck the one note 
of his life, the passionate trust in eternal help, 
as it had never been struck in my hearing 

And as the voice, so the man. " His eye 

2 E 

2 1 o Leaders of the Church 1 8 oo - 1 900 

was full of sweetness but fixed, and, as it 
were, fascinated by some ideal point. His 
countenance expressed nervous, high-strung 
tension, as though all the various play of 
feelings in ordinary human nature converged 
in him towards a single focus the declaration 
of the Divine purpose. Yet this tension, 
this peremptoriness, this convergence of his 
whole nature on a single point, never gave 
the effect of a dictatorial air for a moment. 
There was a quiver in his voice, a tremulous- 
ness in the strong deep lines of his face, 
a tenderness in his eye which assured you at 
once that there was nothing of the hard, 
crystallizing character of a dogmatic belief in 
the Absolute, in the faith which had conquered 
his heart. And most men recognized this, 
for the hardest voices took a tender and 
almost caressing tone in addressing him." 
" The only fault, as most of his hearers would 
think, of his manner, was the perfect monotony 
of his sweet and solemn intonation. His 
voice was the most musical of voices, with 
the least variety and play. His mind was 
one of the simplest, deepest, humblest and 
most intense, with the least range of illus 
tration. He had humour and irony, faculties 
of broad range, but with him they moved 
on a single line. His humour and irony 
were ever of one kind, the humour and irony 
which dwell perpetually on the inconsistencies 
and paradoxes involved in the contrasts between 

Frederick Denison Maurice 211 

human dreams and Divine purposes, and which 
derive only a kindly feeling for the former from 
the knowledge that they are apparently so eager 
to come into painful collision with the latter." 

He prophesied in the nineteenth century, in 
its greatest and wealthiest city, as Isaiah pro 
phesied to the little towns of Palestine and 
Syria. The " burden of London " was his 
theme, like ancient Tyrus, " situate at the 
entering of the sea," and like Tyrus, pro 
claiming, " I am a god. I sit in the seat of 
GOD, in the midst of the sea." He told its 
proud and busy people, eager for prosperity 
and comfort, and thinking that a nation 
could be established in Imperial domination, 
that all this was but dust and vanity without 
the strong springs of devotion and unselfish 
life, which alone could build a city upon sure 
foundations. He preached not so much to 
the individual as to the community ; or 
rather to the individual as part of the com 
munity. He was less concerned with absorp 
tion in a personal salvation, than with 
that energy of sacrifice in which the personal 
desire became identified with the effort for 
the redemption of a whole race. He looked 
across the long vista of the centuries, seeing 
the rise and fall of nations, the valleys 
exalted and the mountains and the hills 
made low. He declared, from his estimate 
of the Divine Purpose in the world, the 
inner meaning of it all. " What measure," 

2 1 2 Leaders of the Church 1 800 - 1 900 

he asked, "is there between the intelligibility 
of Isaiah and that of Lord Mahon s Life of 
Pitt as political treatises?" "The language 
of one is all luminous, the other muddy 
beyond expression." "And yet we cannot 
make out Isaiah, and Lord Mahon appears 
to cause us no trouble." 

And for him at times also the darkened 
skies become suddenly " all luminous," and 
the city encompassed with chariots and horses 
of fire. " Great angels, awful shapes and wings 
and eyes," occupied the background of the 
panorama of history. In that history s pro 
gress, amongst the tangled changes of con 
temporary politics, as in the building of 
populous cities and their falling into decay, 
he saw the movement of the spiritual energies 
which lay behind the pageant of the world. 
"We have been hearing of a vision," he 
proclaimed. Without such a vision, "what 
mere shows and mockeries would be the state 
and ceremonial of kings, the debates of legis 
lators, the yearnings and struggles of peoples ! 
The same painted scenery, the same shifting 
pageants, the same unreal words spoken 
through different masks by counterfeit voices, 
the same plots which seem never to be un 
ravelled. What does it all mean ? How do 
men endure the ceaseless change, the dull 
monotony ? " But with the vision, the mon 
otony becomes illuminated with a light which 
charges to-day with significance, and reveals 


-11 . 

Frederick Denison Maurice 213 

all the change as a progress towards an end. 
"In English temples," he cries, "thou mayest 
hear * Holy, holy, holy, LORD GOD of Hosts 
resounding from the lips of Seraphim. In 
them thou mayest know that thou art in the 
midst of a company of angels and archangels 
and just men made perfect ; nay, that thou 
sittest in the Presence of JESUS, the Mediator 
of the new Covenant, and of GOD the Judge 
of All. And if the sense of that Presence 
awaken all the consciousness of thine own 
evil, and of the evil of the people among 
whom thou dwellest, the taste of that Sacri 
fice, which was once offered for thee and 
for all the world, will purge thine iniquity. 
When that Divine love has kindled thy flag 
ging and perishing thoughts and hopes, thou 
mayest learn that GOD can use thee to bear 
the tidings of His love and righteousness 
to a sense-bound land that is bowing to silver 
and gold, to horses and chariots. And if 
there should come a convulsion in that land, 
such as neither thou nor thy fathers have 
known ; be sure that it signifies the removal 
of such things as can be shaken, that those 
things which cannot be shaken may remain." 
His prophecy was thus of the nature 
of an apocalypse. He spoke no comfortable 
words to the city. He was often filled with 
the darkest forebodings as to the future. With 
so many of the great men of his age, he saw 
England visibly changing, and changing, as 

214 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

he thought, to the worship of heathen gods, 
heathen idols. Unrivalled commercial pros 
perity was persuading the nation to forget the 
LORD GOD, who had brought it out of past 
captivity, and led it through strange ways to 
so perilous a position amongst the peoples of 
the world. It was a battle-cry by one who 
was ever a soldier, righting in the wars of the 
LORD ; with the vision always before him 
of the Armies of Heaven, led by One upon 
a white horse whose Name was Faithful and 
True, and who treadeth the winepress of the 
fierceness and wrath of Almighty GOD. 

" He had no ambition," was the verdict 
on Maurice of the late Duke of Argyll, " no 
social gifts, no brilliant eloquence. He had no 
attraction of manner or of conversation. Even 
his appearance was against him. He was 
a short man with broad shoulders and a 
short neck. He had a pale face, but deeply 
scored with lines of meditation and thought. 
His eyes alone were striking ; large and fine, 
with a very earnest and somewhat perplexed 
expression. They seemed to be always say 
ing, c Open Thou mine eyes, that I may 
behold the wondrous things contained in Thy 
law/ " His sermons," he continues, " were 
always interesting, and some of them most 
impressive. I always listened to them with 
great attention, although on coming away 
I was generally conscious of a feeling of in 
completeness, as of a want unsatisfied." 

Frederick Denison Maurice 

" The most beautiful human soul," was 
Charles Kingsley s description, "whom GOD 
has ever in His great mercy allowed me, most 
unworthy, to meet with upon this earth ; the 
man who, of all men whom I have seen, 
approached nearest to my conception of 
S. John, the Apostle of Love. Well do 
I remember, when we were looking together 
at Leonardo da Vinci s fresco of the Last 
Supper, his complaining, almost with indigna 
tion, of the girlish and sentimental face which 
the painter, like too many Italians, had given 
to S. John. I asked, Why? And he 
answered, * Why ? Was not S. John the 
Apostle of Love ? Then in such a world 
of hate and misery as this, do you not think 
he had more furrows in his cheek than all 
the other Apostles ? And I looked upon 
the furrows in that most delicate and yet 
most noble face, and knew that he spoke true 
of S. John and of himself likewise, and under 
stood better from that moment what was 
meant by c bearing the sorrows and carrying 
the infirmities of men. " 

216 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 



CUCH was the man : what of the work 
which he was set to accomplish ? The 
prophet with his visions was confronted with 
a strange world of make believe, in which 
his lot was cast for a season. The people 
of the nineteenth century, as the people in the 
ancient allegory, lay bound as prisoners in the 
cave ; seeing nothing but the shadows thrown 
upon the walls by the flickering firelight : and 
in their blindness mistaking these shadows for 
real things. 

It is the prophetic function to sift and 
distinguish the reality from the illusion. 
Maurice was aided in his apprehension of the 
real things by his indifference to the shadows. 
From the beginning external Nature made 
but little appeal to him. He lamented his 
insensibility to the charm and beauty of the 
world. " My sole vocation," he wrote, " is 
metaphysical and theological grubbing. The 
treasures of earth and sky are not for me." 
And he classes himself amongst those " who 
delve in the dark flower-less caverns and coal 


Frederick Denison Maurice 217 

mines of their own souls." Half-wistfully, 
half-pathetically, he confessed this deficiency, 
which from childhood had turned his mind 
inward instead of outward, and deprived his 
writing as well as his life of so much of the 
serenity which comes from an apprehension 
of the lights and glories of the world. 
" I did not in any right mood," he said, 
with his characteristic humility, " impute my 
incapacity to GOD, but to my own sin." 
Nor did the larger satisfactions of human 
enjoyment in the work of art or the normal 
delights of man, come to soften and lessen 
the austerity of a life given to high effort 
in thought and conduct. " I am a hard 
Puritan," he wrote to Kingsley, " almost 
incapable of enjoyment, though on principle 
justifying enjoyment as GOD S gift to His 
creatures. I have well deserved to alienate all 
whom I love, and with many I have succeeded 
only too well." This insensibility to the 
material, indeed, helped him to regard with 
tranquillity those discoveries of his time which 
were modifying the conception of the process 
by which the natural world has been made. 
" We cannot find GOD in nature," was his 
conviction. The natural theology of Paley 
and the natural mysticism of the transcenden- 
talists alike seemed to him unsatisfying. In 
consequence, the discovery of the mechanism of 
evolution, which seemed to destroy the final 
causes of the first, and the increasing apprehen- 

2 F 

218 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

sion of the cruelty and clumsiness of nature, 
which so weakened the appeal of the second, 
failed in any way to weaken or destroy Maurice s 
ultimate beliefs. 

In the life itself, this sharp limitation 
of interest is undoubtedly a reason why to 
many the element of romance seems absent, 
the atmosphere rarified, and a little difficult 
to breathe. " The warmth of lesser life " is 
absent. Maurice, longing for the salvation 
of the people, and prepared to shed the last 
drop of his blood for their cause, appears 
detached from them, living in a world 
which to the ordinary mind is cold and 
bleak. In such a world the schemata of 
philosophy and the dogmas of the theo 
logians seem to possess more reality, than 
the simple human interests of simple men 
and women. 

There is little light and shade in his writing. 
There is no softening atmosphere. Above 
all, there is no relaxation from the high level 
of severe thought which carries the reader 
through the region of the mountains in the 
midst of ice and storm, remote from the rich 
sunlit plain beneath his feet. The outward 
life is of the same piece. The strong convic 
tions rarely find adequate expression ; and the 
resolute determination is not always successful, 
to come down from the world of ideas into the 
world of men. It is the life of a student, a 
philosopher, a prophet, living in the midst of 


Frederick Denison Maurice 

the city, but not a member of it ; gazing 
perplexed upon the kind of things which men 
do, and the interests which dominate their lives. 

This life is reflected in the writings. Here 
is little grace or beauty of style. Maurice will 
often give his readers the pregnant phrase, and 
at intervals his passionate eloquence will sweep 
forward with a kind of swing and fury of 
indignation or appeal. Sometimes he is almost 
terrible in his denunciation of meanness or 
cruelty. Sometimes he is filled with the vision 
of things present and to come in a kind of 
inspiration. Sometimes he is gazing over the 
great city in a kind of tenderness and longing : 
" If thou hadst known the things that belong 
unto thy peace but now they are hid from 
thine eyes." But there is none of that solemn 
intensity and delicate charm of style which has 
made such a writer as Newman appeal to 
successive generations, nor of the clear light 
and simplicity of Church, nor of the pomp 
and marching music of Ruskin and the 
magic splendour of Carlyle. 

Much of his work is dictated matter, and 
bears all the evidences of dictated matter. 
It is vast in quantity, thirty or forty volumes 
of an average of 400 or 500 pages apiece. 
It repeats itself. It sprawls over chapters 
and pages. It is often extraordinarily tangled 
and obscure. It belongs to the time, and 
the bulk of it has perished with the time. 
In the controversies which filled with the 

22O Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

noise of combat the ears of a generation now 
all dead and forgotten, once so passionately 
alive, he stands among the company as the 
only theologian of the nineteenth century in 
England with a metaphysical training and a 
claim to philosophic distinction. He was 
living as much in the world of severe 
thought, as amongst the lesser disputants 
of a lower plane, who were muttering 
and complaining concerning the Thirty-nine 
Articles or the Athanasian Creed. 

Maurice, like Butler, found himself testi 
fying in the midst of an age when " it is 
come, I know not how," (in historic words), 
" to be taken for granted, by many persons, 
that Christianity is not so much a subject for 
enquiry, but that it is, now at length, dis 
covered to be fictitious. And accordingly 
they treat it, as if, in the present age, this 
was an agreed point among all people of 
discernment ; and nothing remained but to 
set it up as a principal subject of mirth and 
ridicule, as it were by way of reprisals, for 
its having so long interrupted the pleasures 
of the world." Maurice, a philosopher with 
unchallenged erudition, a thinker of high 
intellectual capacity, an honest man, came to 
challenge so pleasant a scheme of human 
action. He was classed as a Broad Church 
man, just as Carlyle was classed as a Radical, 
because men are classified on account of their 
opponents, rather than through their own 

F : 

Frederick Denison Maurice 

affirmations. Carlyle was attacking a dead 
organic society. Maurice was attacking a 
theological dominance which was cumbered 
with dust and decay the dust and decay of 
centuries. He lived in an age when the 
great Revolution had transformed the world, 
as completely as the Black Death had effected 
the passing of the mediaeval time. Few 
recognized the lessons of the Great Change ; 
many were turning again to attempt the 
endowment of dead things with some ghastly 
semblance of vitality. 

He was never a Protestant. He passed 
almost directly from the Unitarian position to 
the assertion of a kind of Liberal Catholicism. 
And Catholic he remained to the end ; basing 
his deepest conviction upon the unity of all 
life ; consummating in that Unity in Trinity, 
which is the ultimate human conception of 
the Eternal Charity, beyond the basis of all 
being. It was the revolt against the selfishness 
and aggrandizement of each person or family, 
accepting its own self-centred solitariness, 
which drove him into warfare against the 
Political Economy of his age. Just as he 
would have nothing to say to the orthodox 
Protestant theology which insisted on a per 
sonal salvation, so he would have no toler 
ance for the orthodox competitive Economics 
which exalted a personal material prosperity. 
Hatred of the so-called "law of competition" 
made him a co-operator and a Socialist. He 

222 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

thought this exaltation of competition to be 
the exaltation of a blind brutal god, the 
dominance of the worship of idols. Nature, 
" red in tooth and claw with ravin," might 
shriek against the creed of fellowship ; show 
ing nothing but the ferocity of a perpetual 
struggle in which the weakest are irrevocably 
destroyed. He had been led by other ways 
to other interpretations of human affairs ; to 
see sympathy widening from the family to the 
nation, and from the nation to an enthusiasm 
for humanity which included all mankind. 

He carried this repudiation into all his 
energies. He refused to allow competition 
in education, and substituted at Queen s 
College a system of reports for a system 
of prizes. He endeavoured to carry out the 
same idea in the Working Men s College, 
with an ideal not of emulation, but of co 
operation. He always maintained that the 
duty of those reformers who associated 
themselves with him in the stormy days of 
the later forties was less to form Co-operative 
Societies than to preach Co-operation. 

Experience in part justified his contention. 
The productive Associations one after the other 
collapsed. The workers gathered in them 
proved as rapacious for individual welfare, as 
blind to the communal good, as the workers 
outside. Maurice himself lost money in the 
Associations, and Vansittart Neale, having 
risked and ruined two fortunes, was reduced 


Frederick Denison Maurice 223 

to penury. Such misfortunes did not in the 
least daunt one who had learnt something of 
a large faith "in time, and that which shapes 
it to some perfect end," and could see the 
dullness of the common day always trans 
figured by something of the radiance of that 
ultimate vision. 

His metaphysic is a history. He declared 
that he had no concern in the abstractions 
themselves, detached from the life of man ; 
and that all his interest was in the struggle 
of men in successive ages to attain that 
knowledge of GOD which is the goal of all 
human effort. So his History of Philosophy 
is made up of little biographies of the men 
who, shunning delight and living laborious 
days, had turned themselves with a kind of 
heroic fury upon the quest of the ultimate 
Truth ; who had piled mountain upon moun 
tain, in the endeavour to climb to the very 
floors of Heaven. In such a world he felt 
at home. He never protested against diver 
gent systems so long as this " hunger of 
the Infinite " was driving their framers for 
ward in any kind of honest search for its 
attainment. Divinity, in Bacon s great phrase, 
was for him " the Sabbath and Port of all 
man s labours and peregrinations." Always, 
and amongst the most diverse thinkers, he 
will show this thread of common effort 
running through the successive centuries ; 
building up, from the earliest speculators, in 

224 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

a remote world in the grey dawn of history, 
down to the perplexed thinkers of a present 
extraordinarily complex and baffling, a tradi 
tion of laborious service bringing no earthly 
reward. His survey extended from Plato, 
who "dreamt GOD," to Hegel and the modern 
transcendentalists, " recognizing by the intellect 
that the intellect cannot conceive of a GOD 
who must make Himself known." Maurice 
reveals this company of the seekers for the 
Holy Grail as those who, abandoning the 
warmth of lesser life and the tranquil satis 
factions of security and comfort, have been 
driven out into the wilderness and solitary 
places in insatiable desire for the goal of all 
their wanderings. They came to many 
different conclusions, seemingly hostile to 
each other. But they all stand as part of 
one order in the verdict of time, sharply 
opposed to those who are content to establish 
a comfortable life in the cities of the plain. 
So with Hobbes, " seeking first of all to 
know what that kind of motion might be 
which produces the phantoms of the senses 
and of the understanding, and the other 
properties of animals " : in the assertion of 
Spinoza, that "all noble things are difficult, 
all noble things are rare," and his perplexity 
concerning personality and the distinction 
between GOD S Essence and His Intellect 
and His Will : " though I am not ignorant 
of the word I am ignorant of its significa- 

rgdcrick Denison Maurice 225 

tion ; nor can I form any clear conception 
of it, although I firmly believe that in the 
blessed vision of GOD which is promised 
to the faithful, GOD will reveal this to 
His own " : with Malebranche, Gutt-Tronken> 
declaring " GOD is Himself actually in the 
midst of us, not as a mere observer of our 
good or evil actions, but as the principle of 
our society, the bond of our friendship, the 
soul if I may say so of the intercourse and 
fellowship that we have with each other " : 
with Protestant and Catholic : in the great 
aspiration of the early Renaissance : with such 
thinkers as Pico, asserting the belief in GOD 
as everything " all practical morality, all the 
ascent of man out of evil to good, out of 
darkness to light, rests upon the faith that 
Being, Truth, Goodness, Unity are in Him 
as their object, become through Him the 
inheritance of the creatures whom He has 
made " : with all this great and eager com 
panionship Maurice finds himself in sympathy 
and communion. Here he discovers " a chain 
of tradition which cannot be neglected, that 
all nature, all legends, still more the forms of 
ecclesiastical society, have been supposed to 
be pledges and sacraments of a mysterious 

Maurice s philosophy thus starts from the 
Divine. He makes no attempt to deduce 
the Presence of GOD from the visible world, 
or to pass from the creature to the Creator. 

2 G 

226 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

GOD is for him the only reality. Scripture 
is either the gradual unfolding of GOD or it 
is nothing. Human experience is an ever- 
deepening apprehension of His existence and 
working. Confused and partial notions about 
GOD have been the root of all the divisions, 
superstitions, plagues of the world. Right 
apprehension of His attributes and purposes 
has been the inspiration of all human pro 
gress and the foundation of all human welfare. 
He can give no clear dogmatic affirmations 
of a carefully-bounded and limited definition. 
" The reason cannot be satisfied without mys 
teries." The finite can never apprehend the 
Infinite. It is only in those elements of 
human effort in which the limitations of 
temporal and material conditions are trans 
cended, that this human personality can 
obtain any conscious apprehension of the 
Divine. As GOD in that old language of the 
Church sheweth forth His Almighty power 
most chiefly in mercy and in pity ; so man, 
in the losing of his own personal life for 
the salvation of humanity, is most clearly 
conscious of apprehending, in some quality 
more convincing than the cold affirmations of 
a logical satisfaction, the nature of the Infinite 

From such a conception of the Divine 
purpose beneath the illusions of time, Maurice 
passed to the conviction of a fundamental 
Divine order working, in a world of con- 


Frederick Denison Maurice 227 

fusion, towards the attainment of a harmony 
which will consummate all its life and energies 
in one intelligible end. As in the vision of 
Augustine, he saw two polities the city of 
man and the city of GOD ; the first based 
on individual demands for individual satis 
factions, full of the elements of competition 
and wild warfare ; the second uniting this 
same bewildered company into a unity in 
which each will find his satisfaction in the 
satisfaction of all. "The pursuit of unity," 
he asserted in the later years, " is the end 
which GOD has set before me from my cradle 
upwards ; the vision of unity as infinite, 
embracing, sustaining, the confession which 
I make in the Creed, that I have accepted in 
my mature years." The witness of this unity 
he found in the Church, with its visible Sacra 
ments binding men together of all classes and 
nations, including rather than estranging, pro 
claiming as its ultimate object of worship a 
Trinity in Unity. "Will not our lips be 
some day opened," he wrote " to say that the 
Kingdom of Heaven is not for those who 
would shut it up, but for those who would 
open it, as the Apostles did, to all kindreds 
and tongues and tribes ? All perplexities and 
contradictions of human opinion and practice 
seem to me to be preparing the way for this 
discovery, otherwise they would drive me to 
despair." The revelation of GOD in the living 
Word alone can emancipate the peoples. 

228 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

" The Name into which we are baptized," he 
cried, " the Name which was to bind together 
all nations, comes to me more and more as 
that which must at last break the fetters of 
oppression. I can find none of my Liberal 
friends to whom that language does not sound 
utterly wild and incomprehensible ; while the 
orthodox would give me for the eternal Name 
the dry dogma of the Trinity ; an opinion 
which I may brag of as mine, given me by 
I know not what councils of noisy doctors, 
and to be retained in spite of the reason 
which it is said to contradict, lest I should 
be cast into hell for rejecting it. I am sure 
this Name is the Infinite All-embracing 
Charity, which I may proclaim to publicans 
and harlots as that in which they are living 
and moving and having their being ; in which 
they may believe, and by which they may be 
raised to the freedom and righteousness and 
fellowship for which they were created." 

So the Church, like the philosophers, 
becomes for Maurice a witness to the presence 
of this Divine order and unity ; Sacraments 
the organon of a revelation, the necessary 
form of a revelation, because they discover 
the Divine nature in its union with the human, 
and do not make the human the standard and 
measure of the Divine. And all this witness 
and experience pass back to the memory of 
One who came as Light and Ruler of the 
Universe, out of the regions beyond space 

Frederick Denison Maurice 

and time, into the limitations of space and 
time, by a self-emptying ; the CHRIST who 
is the King, and who will put all things into 
subjection under His feet, until death and 
hell itself shall be cast into the lake of fire 
and be consumed. In that life lay the 
possibilities of escape from the separate 
existence, hard and round like a ball of 
adamant, in which man ultimately found him 
self alone in the midst of a great nothingness 
and cold. " I come to give thanks," he wrote 
at the beginning, when the full meaning 
of this revelation dawned on him, " that in 
Him is the life of the world. I do not want 
a separate life either here or hereafter. I 
come to renounce that separate life, to disclaim 
it. I understand that the SON of GOD, by 
sacrificing Himself, has given me a share 
and property in another life, the common life 
which is in Him ; and 1 have come to pray 
that He will deliver me and my brethren and 
the universe from that separate and selfish 
life, which is the cause of all our woes and 
miseries, spiritual and fleshly, inward and 

From such a theology came the inspiration 
of all his effort and the explanation of his 
attitude upon so many critical occasions : his 
abandonment of the religion of his fathers : 
his enthusiasm for social justice : his teaching 
in a time of religious disturbance. 

He came from a "sect" into the Church 

230 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

because he demanded a larger and freer air, 
because he repudiated boundaries and limita 
tions built upon the affirmations of belief. 
Men (for him) were not made members of 
CHRIST because they believed that He was 
GOD, or because they entertained certain dogmas 
concerning certain ultimate propositions. They 
were citizens of that Kingdom because they had 
been bought by a great redemption. And the 
children, who knew nothing of their high calling, 
and the indifferent and the scornful, the pub 
licans and harlots, as securely as the orthodox 
and devout, were all members of one Body, 
citizens of the Kingdom of GOD. " We cannot 
rise out of schism," he asserted, "unless some 
one proclaims CHRIST as the centre of unity to 
each man and to all men." This was the 
message which he found himself compelled to 
set forth ; " voices of the living and of the 
dead ringing continually in my ears, with, I 
think, a diviner voice of One that liveth and 
was dead, telling me that I ought to do that, 
whether men hear or are deaf." 

He plunged into the social controversy of an 
age " fast hurrying to destruction in its worship 
of Mammon." He found it directed by the 
doctrine of free competition, and the unsuccess 
ful to the devil. The inspiring force in his 
effort was not primarily, as in the case of 
others, the revolt of pity against remediable 
human suffering, or of intelligence against 
remediable human disorder. It was with 

Frederick Denison Maurice 231 

Maurice a repudiation, with all the fire of a 
nature full of a consuming energy, of a social 
order and gospel which seemed to him a direct 
contradiction of the law and gospel of the 
Kingdom. An economy which declared that 
the welfare of the whole could only be 
maintained through each man feverishly and 
hungrily seeking his own individual aggran 
dizement, seemed to him a proclamation 
that the devil and not CHRIST was the king 
of the universe. " If there is lying at the 
root of society," he asserted, " the recogni 
tion of the unity of men in CHRIST, the natural 
intercourse of men in different countries will 
bring out that belief into clearness and fullness, 
and remove the limitation and narrowness 
which arise from the confusion between CHRIST 
Himself and our notions about Him. But that 
Commerce is in itself, apart from this principle, 
any bond of brotherhood whatever, that it does 
not lead to the denial of all brotherhood, to 
murderous conflicts between Labour and 
Capital, to slavery and slave-trade, I know not 
how, in the face of the most patent and received 
facts, it is possible to maintain." 

Again, in passing from the social to the 
religious confusions of the age, he is found 
always judging present things in the clear 
light of this conception of the beginning 
and the end. He was accused, by those 
who had abandoned the old, stiff formulas, 
of an attempt " to methodize shams, to 

232 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

idealize shovel-hattery, to build up, not earth 
only, but heaven also, upon a ground-plan 
of the Thirty-nine Articles." These men 
demanded a Church of living men. "You 
show us," he pictures them as saying, " no 
such thing, only some mysterious pictures of 
water and bread and wine, an absolute creed, 
an office which enables men to put Cantuar 
and Ebor after their names, a book worn 
to shreds with commentaries." To all this 
Maurice replied by confronting the vague 
and gusty affirmations of his contemporaries, 
with the magnificent, free, emancipating pro 
clamations of an historic Christianity. It is a 
society which he sought, and a society which 
he found, binding men together here and 
now ; binding together into one unity, the 
past, the present, and the future. Maurice 
refused to accept a unity of belief as a 
ground of combination. He demanded a 
unity of action, purpose and hope. He 
found this unity in a Church, not creating 
through its ordinances, but recognizing that 
which indeed existed beyond those ordin 
ances, the Divine energy in the world, and 
the Divine response to the pleadings and 
the desires of humanity. Of the Prayer 
Book, " I am convinced," he cried, " it 
preaches a gospel to mankind which no 
dissenters and no infidels preach. I am con 
vinced that GOD will take it from us if He 
sees it does not help us but harms us. Till 

Frederick Denison Maurice 233 

then I turn to it for protection against Record, 
Guardian, King s College Councils, his Grace 
the Archbishop, Mr. Morrison, the brothers 
Newman, Dr. Cummings, and Pius IX." 

The free and full gospel there indicated 
gives him the power of resistance against the 
orthodoxy which covers the atheism of his 
surroundings. " My only hope of resisting 
the devil-worship of the religious world," he 
said, "lies in preaching the full revelation 
of GOD in CHRIST set forth in the Bible." 

Underneath this temporal show, which 
wasted away and presently would altogether 
crumble into dust, he had seen the City 
whose foundations are secure. The courses 
in time of this phantom race of men, spirits 
in a world of spirits, imprisoned in strange 
unintelligible limitations against which the 
ardour of human resolution beats in vain, only 
became significant as interpreted in the light 
of this revelation : the vision of the end and 
the beginning the end in the beginning. 
" So there will be discovered," is the sum 
mary of his " Social Morality," of all his 
life s travail, " beneath all the polities of the 
earth, sustaining the order of each country, 
upholding the charity of each household, a 
city which hath foundations, whose Builder 
and Maker is GOD. It must be for all kin 
dreds and races ; therefore with the Sectarian 
ism which rends humanity asunder, with the 
Imperialism which would substitute for universal 

2 H 

234 Leaders of the Cburch 1800-1900 

fellowship a universal death, must it wage im 
placable war. Against these we pray as often 
as we ask that GOD S will may be done on earth 
as it is in heaven. 

He clung to this faith amid all the splendour 
and the terror of passing things ; proclaiming 
that the Gospel is a message to mankind of the 
redemption which GOD has effected in His SON ; 
that the Bible is not only speaking of a world to 
come, but of a kingdom here of righteousness, 
peace, and truth ; that we may be in conformity 
with this kingdom, or in enmity, now ; that the 
Church is " the healer of all privations and 
diseases, the bond of all classes, the instrument 
for reforming abuses, the admonisher of the 
rich, the friend of the poor, the asserter of the 
glory of that humanity which CHRIST bears." 

He saw warfare and confusion everywhere 
around him, the old breaking into fragments, 
men s hearts failing them for fear as the curtain 
of the horizon lifted upon a vision of ocean 
and storm. He saw the good at cross-pur 
poses with the good, party attacking party, 
the Church bare and leafless in the frosty 
weather, with no promise of a second spring. 
Sometimes the sense of baffled purposes, and 
of the large outpouring of the forces of evil, 
filled him with the darkest forebodings for the 
days to come. In such moments he looked 
with anxiety on the future of his children, 
who were to be brought up in a world filled 
with little but dust and decay ; and rejoiced 


Frederick Denison Maurice 235 

over the gathering of those who had passed 
away from the evil to come. At other times 
the conviction was strong within him that 
humanity will never be content permanently 
to inhabit ruins, that mankind will never 
acquiesce in a godless world. 

His prophecy is too recent to have attained 
denial or fulfilment. We are still living 
in an age, beyond that of most generations 
perplexed and bewildered by the changes 
which have come upon human thought and 
human action ; now exultant, with its soul 
uplifted, in the magnificence of its material 
triumph ; now mournful in the experience of 
the failure of all material progress to satisfy 
the hungry heart of man. The immediate 
fate of the future is hidden from our eyes. 
The affirmation of some ultimate principle of 
Charity behind the outward show of things is 
still challenged by those who can see no vision 
but of a meaningless struggle, in which man 
disquieteth himself in vain. " I cannot see one 
shadow or tittle of evidence," is the assertion of 
one modern thinker, " that the great unknown 
underlying the phenomena of the universe 
stands to us in the relation of a father loves 
us and cares for us, as Christianity declares." 
" I believe the time is coming," is the counter- 
assertion of another, " when those only who are 
able to say ex animo> I believe in GOD the 
FATHER Almighty, Creator of Heaven and 

236 Leaders of the Church 1800-1900 

earth, will be found to be in the full possession 
of their common sense." 

Maurice is in the tradition of those who " at 
least " were " very sure of GOD." He was a 
seer, a mystic, a prophet ; charged with 
thoughts sometimes too great for human 
utterance, and occupied with a Vision beyond 
the boundaries of time. 

Developments of newer knowledge and 
a civilization increasing in complexity, are 
sweeping modern Society into new interests, 
to which the age in which Maurice lived 
seems remote and far away. The nineteenth 
century, in its simplicities and ardours and 
austerities, already stands apart as something 
removed from the energies of its successor. 
Is the Vision also destined to vanish, in 
which these men thought was included all 
the hope of the world ? Even in such a 
case their work will not be forgotten. If in 
the generations to come the quest has been 
abandoned, and mankind has learnt to abide 
in contentment in the plain, heedless of the 
challenge of the distant hills ; there will still 
be honour for the memory of those who set 
forth so bravely, upon an adventure which 
thus proved in the end all hopeless and 
barren. But if the old tradition remains, 
and amid the noise of the busy streets some 
will always hear the calling of an adventure 
beyond temporal attainment ; it is to the 
memory of such as this man that these will 

Frederick Denison Maurice 


turn, for the record of the travellers who 
once toiled up the hazardous way, towards 
the peaks which lose their summits in the 


Allen, Archdeacon, 204. 
Argyll, Duke of, 214. 
Arnold, Dr. 56, 57, 

Bagehot, Walter, 209. 

Barton, Anne (Mrs. Mau 
rice), 45, 53, 200. 

Beaconsfield, Lord, 52, 190. 

Bentham, Jeremy, 13. 

Blomfield, Bishop, 99, 129, 

Bright, John, 206. 

Bristol, Lord, 102. 

Browning, Robert, 1 80. 

Buckingham, Silk, 15. 

Carlyle, Thomas, I, 6, 15, 
26, 56, 58, 87, 97, in, 
143, 219-221. 

Church, Dean, 129, 219. 

Clough, A. H., 2. 

Cobden, Richard, 56, 87. 

Colenso, Bishop, 3, 130, 
172, 180, 181-184. 

Coleridge, S. T., 6, 32. 

Cowper-Temple, W., 175. 

Croker, J. W., 97. 

Dickinson, Lowes, 137. 
Dixon, Canon, 57. 

Engels, Friedrich, 58. 
Froude, J. A., 2, 26. 

Gladstone, W. E., 16, 46, 

52, 132, 175, 204. 
Greg, W. R., 66. 
Green, T. H., 5. 

Hare, Archdeacon, I, 6, 12, 

48, 130, 138. 
Hamilton, Sir William, 1 5 2, 

157, 158. 

Harrison, Frederic, 137. 
Harrow by, Lord, 102. 
Holyoake, G. J., 95, 100. 
Hughes, Thomas, 95, 106, 


Hutton, R. H., 185, 209. 
Huxley, Professor, 171. 

Jelf, Dr.,99, 100, 127, 128, 

129, 131, 133. 
Jowett, Professor, 3, 172, 

179, 183, 189,204,205. 




Keble, Rev. John, 16. 

Kingsley, Rev. Charles, 60- 
66, 68, 70, 75, 79, 87, 
88, 91, 94, 96, 97-100, 
107, 108, no, in, 126, 
127, 139, 147, 184, 192, 
215, 217. 

Liddon, Dr., 209. 

Lonsdale, Bishop, 132. 

Ludlow, J. M., 6 1, 63, 66- 
106, 138, 169, 179, 191. 

Lyttelton, Lord, 132. 

Macaulay, Lord, 14. 
Macmillan, D., 48. 
Mansel, Dean, 3, 138, 152, 

"53* i55 I 57- l6 , 162- 
Maurice, Rev. Michael 

(father), 7-10. 
Priscilla (mother), 7- 

9 138. 

Elizabeth (sister), 9. 

Anne (sister), 9, 15. 

Emma (sister), 9. 

Priscilla (sister), 138. 
Melbourne, Lord, 57. 
Mill, J. S., i, 10, 14, 25, 

87, 89, 90, 159. 
Mozley, Dr., 129. 

Neale, Vansittart, 1 06, 1 08, 


Newman, Cardinal, 16, 30, 
50, 52, 102, 160, 183, 
209, 219. 

Owen, Robert, 34. 

Palmerston, Lord, 175. 
Pattison, Mark, 5. 
Pusey, Dr., 3, 29, 50, 183, 
184, 187,189. 

Ripon, Lord, 103, 206. 
Robertson, Rev. F. W., 


Rossetti, D. G., 137. 
Ruskin, John, 2, 29, 80, 

112, 137, 219. 
Russell, Lord John, 56. 

Shaftesbury, Lord, 50, 69, 


Smith, Sydney, 59. 
Spencer, Herbert, 157. 
Stanley, Dean, 3, 177, 191, 
^ 205. 

Stephen, Leslie, 25. 
Sterling, John, 12, 14, 15, 

22, 23, 45, 53. 
Strachey, Sir Edward, 29. 

Tait, Archbishop, 175, 182. 
Tennyson, Lord, 14, 64, 
116, 134, 139, 175, 197. 
Trench, Archbishop, 47. 

Ward, W. G., 51. 
Westbury, Lord, 186. 
Westlake, Professor, 137. 
Wilberforce, Bishop, 130, 
171, 178, 181. 



\ i